2019 Election Policy Tracker

INCOME SUPPORT TO GET THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

ACOSS logo

Raise the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments by a minimum of $75 per week

Liberal party logo

No plan to increase allowances.

 

 

ALP logo

Will review the rate of Newstart and related allowances within 18 months of forming government. 

Greens logo
Support immediate increase of at least $75 per week, including indexation to wages. 
ACOSS logo

Establish a Single Parent Supplement to help single parents with the cost of raising children

Liberal party logo

No plan to establish a Single Parent Supplement. 

 

 

ALP logo

No plan to establish a Single Parent Supplement. The Newstart review will reconsider the age at which single parents move from Parenting Payment Single to Newstart.

Greens logo

Support in principle a plan to establish a Single Parent Supplement, benchmarked to the cost of children as they get older

ACOSS logo

Establish a Social Security Commission to guide the Parliament on payment settings

Liberal party logo

No plan to establish a Social Security Commission.

 

 

ALP logo

No plan to establish a Social Security Commission.

 

 

Greens logo

Will establish an independent equality commission to advise government on income support rates and strategies to reduce inequality.

ACOSS logo

Index income support and family payments to wage movements.

 

Liberal party logo

No plan to index payments to wages.

 

ALP logo

Will review indexation of allowances within context of Newstart review. No plan to index family payments to wages. 

Greens logo

Support wage indexation of allowances and family payments. 

ACOSS logo

Abolish compulsory income management, cashless debit, third-party and verification of relationship status. 

 

Liberal party logo

Will replace compulsory income management in the Northern Territory with compulsory cashless debit (maintaining 50% income quarantining). Plans to extend cashless debit. 

ALP logo

Support extension of cashless debit trials sites for a further year to 2020. Will abolish compulsory cashless debit in Bundaberg. 

 

Greens logo

Support abolition of compulsory income management, cashless debit and third-party verification of relationship status. Would only support income quarantining if it was truly opt-in.

 

ACOSS logo

Replace ‘Robodebt’ debt collection arrangements with a fairer system where the onus of proof for overpayments lies with Centrelink

Liberal party logo

No plan to abolish Robodebt.

ALP logo

Robodebt put on hold until recommendations from the 2017 inquiry into Robodebt are adopted and single touch payroll is introduced (as per Senate Inquiry report).

Greens logo

Support abolition of Robodebt, and call for correct, manual calculation of overpayments. 

ACOSS logo

Ease unreasonable restrictions on access to the Disability Support Pension

Liberal party logo

No plan to improve access to the Disability Support Pension. 

ALP logo

No plan to improve access to the Disability Support Pension. 

Greens logo

Support restoring access to DSP by stopping the ‘program of support’ approach, reviewing the impairment tables, and reviewing the assessment process. Also support DSP assessment panels having expertise in the disability of the applicants so that they can make informed decisions

ACOSS logo

Strengthen the capacity of Centrelink to meet need by increasing permanent staffing levels and introducing robust advisory arrangements

Liberal party logo

No plan to increase permanent staffing or introduce robust advisory arrangements.

ALP logo

Increase Centrelink staffing by 1,200 and cease the use of labour hire in Centrelink. No plan to introduce introducing robust advisory arrangements. 

Greens logo

Support increasing permanent staff in Centrelink to ensure people are adequately supported. Also support establishing a reference group to advise on the use of digital platforms. 

REAL HELP TO FIND EMPLOYMENT

ACOSS logo

The next government should commit to full employment, so as many people as possible can secure paid employment for the regular paid hours they need

Liberal party logo
Commitment to 1.25 million additional jobs over next 5 years, incl. 250,000 for young people

ALP logo

Greens logo

Committed to full employment. A Future of Work Commission to examine impacts of technological innovation and develop long-term strategies for jobs, & consider a jobs guarantee

ACOSS logo
The next government should commit to reduce long-term unemployment, expressed as a share of recipients of unemployment payments, over the next five years

Liberal party logo

No specific announcement

ALP logo

No specific announcement

Greens logo
Comitted to reduce long-term employment
ACOSS logo

In the new employment services system that replaces jobactive, lift public investment in help for people unemployed long-term and those at risk

Liberal party logo
Spending on jobactive reduced by $65m over next 4 years (from $6B)
ALP logo
General commitment to boost employment services for people unemployed long- term.
Greens logo
General commitment to boost employment services for people unemployed long- term, including improvements to the Employment Fund to ensure it is effective for unemployed people, and ‘full access to education and vocational training courses’.
ACOSS logo

Build a quality employment services system that responds to the needs of unemployed people and employers

Liberal party logo

Conducted major review of employment services; announced 2 year pilot of new model in 2 regions with emphasis on online servicing; more flexible compliance & more individualised service for disadvantaged/unemployed long-term;
 work experience programs continue: wage subsidies, Work for the Dole, & Youth Jobs Path.

ALP logo

Commitment to more flexible compliance rules; Youth Jobs Path to be replaced; review Work for the Dole incl. workplace health & safety; an employment services ombudsman; adjust funding to encourage investment in long term/ disadvantaged & more enduring job outcomes.

Greens logo

Charter of Rights &
Expectations for users of employment services;

  • Involve service users in formal advisory bodies;
  • principles to govern use
    of digital platforms in employment services;

  • An independent quality assurance body for employment services;

  • Minimum training requirements for consultants;
  • A public employment service for job ready, & specialised not-for- profit sector services for those with complex barriers to employment;
  • Better partnerships among employment services, employers, training organisations, and health services to support long term unemployed;
  • Career counselling
    for new entrants to workforce, parents & carers.
ACOSS logo

Re-orient employment services and payment rules from compliance with activity requirements towards positive help

Liberal party logo
Commitment to ‘provide more flexibility and diversity around the activities job seekers are expected to do’; Pilots will trial online service for ‘less disadvantaged’, which may ease compliance (incl. ‘20 jobs a month’ requirement), but also risks automation of payment suspensions; Modest easing of Parents Next reporting requirements, but harsh ‘Targeted Compliance Framework’ remains in place; The harsh Community Development Program for remote First Nations communities is retained.
ALP logo

Commitment to reduce counterproductive benefit compliance rules and review the ‘Targeted Compliance Framework’; ease compliance system for Parents Next;
abolish the harsh Community Development Program for remote First Nations communities; Strengthen role of Centrelink in managing compliance

Greens logo

Commitment to abolish ‘Targeted Compliance Framework’,
Replace Parents Next with a voluntary program;

  • Review activity requirements for people with caring roles, disabilities and other major barriers to employment;
  • Abolish the harsh Community Development Program for remote First Nations communities;
  • Strengthen role of Centrelink in managing compliance; remove the 20 job searches a month requirement;
  • Reduce the number of
    hours for compulsory annual activities for unemployed workers from 25 hours a week to 15 hours a week.

A SECURE, AFFORDABLE HOME FOR EVERYBODY

ACOSS logo
The development of a new National Housing and Homelessness Strategy with targets to increase affordable housing for low-income households and reduce homelessness
Liberal party logo
No plan to develop a National Strategy
ALP logo
Committed to delivering a National Strategy
Greens logo

Support development of a National Strategy

ACOSS logo
Major investment in new social housing meeting, growing to $10 billion in ten years
Liberal party logo

No plan to increase social housing investment 

ALP logo

No specific commitment on social housing, but potential for new rental incentive (see below) to deliver social housing if subsidized by contributions from State/Territory Govts 

Greens logo

Would invest in 500,000 new public and community housing dwellings funded through housing tax reforms and bank levy 

ACOSS logo

A 30% increase in Rent Assistance for people on low incomes renting privately

Liberal party logo

No plan to increase Rent Assistance 

ALP logo

No plan to increase Rent Assistance 

Greens logo

No policy to increase Rent Assistance

ACOSS logo

A rental investment incentive to encourage investment in the construction of new affordable rental housing, including social housing for people with low incomes

Liberal party logo

Discontinued funding for National Rental Affordable Scheme and no plans to replace

ALP logo
New rental incentive of $8500 p.a. for 15 years to investors to deliver 250,000 affordable dwellings (20% below market rent), with 20,000 in first term. 
Greens logo

Support an extension of NRAS or replacement scheme

ACOSS logo

A new national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing strategy, with funds earmarked in the proposed National Housing Agreement to support culturally appropriate housing, including growth of the Indigenous Community Housing sector and a new remote housing funding agreement between the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.

Liberal party logo

No plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing strategy.

ALP logo

No plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing strategy but would add housing and homelessness targets to Closing the Gap strategy. Will work with States and invest in new housing and refurbishing existing housing stock in remote communities.

Greens logo

Would strongly consider development of a new national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing strategy.

ACOSS logo

Other priorities

Liberal party logo

Would invest $78m to emergency accommodation and Safe at Home programs for women and children impacted by family violence + $82m for frontline services.

Have established the National Housing Infrastructure Facility and Finance and Investment Corporation.

Will establish the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, to guarantee loans for up to 10,000 buyers with less than 20% deposit.

ALP logo

Will re-establish the National Housing Supply Council and Housing Minister.

Would invest $88m/2 years in Safe Housing Fund for women escaping DV and $120m for emergency accommodation. See proposals to reform housing taxes in ‘Funding for our Future’.

Will match the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme announced by the Liberal Party.

Greens logo

Would provide $500m p/a to crisis and transitional housing, indexed to CPI.

Would implement a national standard for renters’ rights.

See proposals to reform housing taxes in ‘Funding our Future’.

ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE & AFFORDABLE, CLEAN ENERGY

ACOSS logo

Cut carbon pollution: 

  • Set emissions reduction targets of zero net emissions before 2050 and at least 45% by 2030.
  • Implement a credible, low-cost and equitable plan to transition to a clean economy that: includes a carbon price with complementary measures; prioritises the energy sector for faster emissions reductions; and supports vulnerable groups including low-income households, and affected workers and communities. 
  • End fossil fuel subsidies

Liberal party logo

Cut carbon pollution: 

  • Emission reduction target is only 26% by 2030, no 2050 target.
  • No economy wide carbon price. Continue Safeguard mechanism setting limits on industry emissions, limits are set too high. Continue Emissions Reduction Fund which pays companies to reduce emissions. No plan or target for energy sector transition. No plan to support vulnerable groups. 
  • No policy to end fossil fuel subsidies

ALP logo

Cut carbon pollution: 

  • Emission reduction target is 45% by 2030, net zero by 2050.
  •  No economy wide carbon price scheme. Expand Coalition’s Safeguard mechanism by tightening emission limits and allowing access to domestic land sector and international offsets. Electricity Sector National Energy Guarantee with, 50% renewables by 2030. Just transition Authority for workers and affected communities. No specific mention of low-income households.
  • No policy to end fossil fuel subsidies

     

Greens logo

Cut carbon pollution: 

  • Emissions reduction Target 63-82% by 2030, net zero by 2040
  • Economy wide carbon price that is linked to a household compensation package, with domestic offsets for land sector; 100% renewable energy by 2030; Transition body to plan the transition, support delivery and support workers and affected communities. 
  • Abolish fossil fuel subsidies such as the Fuel Tax Credit for all industries except agriculture, and the immediate deduction for exploration and prospecting expenses for mining and end accelerated depreciation for oil and gas assets.

     

ACOSS logo

Support rapid transition to clean, affordable energy

  • Work with COAG to implement mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties; co-fund energy efficiency and solar for social housing and Indigenous communities; and provide funds for homeowners on low-incomes to invest in solar and energy efficient measures.
  • Improve peoples’ capacity to pay energy bills by increasing Newstart; retain the Energy Supplement in full; and instigate a review to improve the uptake and adequacy of energy concessions, including shifting to full or partial percentage-based concessions.
  • Develop energy affordability and stress indicators to measure and reduce energy stress for low-income households.
Liberal party logo

Support rapid transition to clean, affordable energy: 

  • Supported COAG Review of energy efficiency for existing houses. Rebates to community organisations to improve energy efficiency. No published policies on increasing energy efficiency and solar for Low-income households.
  • No plan to increase Newstart. Withdrew previous policy to scrap the energy supplement. No published policy to improve the adequacy of energy concessions.
  • No published policy to commit to reducing energy stress/poverty in line with indicators
ALP logo

Support rapid transition to clean, affordable energy: 

  • No policy on mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties. Establish a Neighborhood Renewables Program to support some renters and social housing residents to access solar and energy efficiency.
  • Will review the rate of Newstart. Support retaining the energy supplement. No published policy on improving energy concessions.
  • No published policy to commit to reducing energy stress/poverty in line with indicators.
Greens logo

Support rapid transition to clean, affordable energy: 

  • Support energy efficiency standard for rental properties. Require retailers to drive energy efficiency improvements, with a target for low-income households.
  • Support utilising the CECF to drive investment in social housing. Solar and battery grants & rebates with some support for landlords/renters and low-income households.
  • Support Raising Newstart by $75. Support retaining the energy supplement. No published policy on improving energy concessions. Will establish a public energy retailer.
  • Support development of energy affordability and stress indicators to then measure and reduce energy stress for low-income households.
ACOSS logo

Build resilience to the impacts of climate change 

  • Fund production of an Australian social vulnerability map to enable development of local climate change adaptation and resilience plans; support communities to develop local climate change adaptation and resilience plans; and strengthen individual and local communities’ capacity to better adapt and become resilient to local climate change factors.
  • Establish a program to support community sector organisations to adapt to climate change, be better prepared for emergencies and disasters, improve resilience of their clients, and ensure continuity of care for vulnerable people.
Liberal party logo

Build resilience to the impacts of climate change

  • No published policies on climate change adaptation and resilience for people and local communities
  • No published policies on climate change adaptation and resilience for community organisations. 
ALP logo

Build resilience to the impacts of climate change

  • No published policies on climate change adaptation and resilience for people and local communities.
  • No published policies on climate change adaptation and resilience for community organisations. 
Greens logo

Build resilience to the impacts of climate change

  • The Greens support economy and community side changes and measures to develop, implement and act on policies that will improve climate resilience and will help shield low-income and other vulnerable communities from climate impacts. The Greens support the measures proposed by ACOSS. 
  • The Greens recognise that community organisations will require funding and support from government to adapt and respond to climate change. The Greens support the measures proposed by ACOSS. 

QUALITY HEALTH & COMMUNITY SERVICES

ACOSS logo

Improve access to early childhood education and care

ALP logo

Commitment to National Preschool and Kindy Program to provide preschool education to all three and four year olds. Will increase the subsidy for families earning up to $174,000 who meet the activity test. Will also review the system for vulnerable children. 

Greens logo

Provide 80% of Australian families with free child care and extend universal access to early childhood education to 24 hours a week for all three and four-year-olds. Abolish the activity test for access to the Child Care Subsidy. Establish a $200 million grants fund to reduce waiting lists for child care in areas of high need.

ACOSS logo

Properly index all grants and contracts across the community sector

Liberal party logo

No commitments on indexation of Federal grants

ALP logo

Where appropriate, ensure funding includes proper indexation so community organisations do not see the real value of their grant drop away during the term of the grant.

Greens logo

Commitment to index community grants in line with Wage Price Index

ACOSS logo
Maintain funding for fair wages and quality services
Liberal party logo
No commitments on Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) cliff
ALP logo
No commitments on Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) cliff, however a general commitment to ensure that the funding provided to an organisation reflects the efficient costs of providing the services it is contracted to deliver.
ACOSS logo

Commit to fund and support advocacy by the representatives of people and communities experiencing poverty and disadvantage as a legitimate part of national public debate.

Liberal party logo

No commitments on advocacy

ALP logo

Labor strongly committed to advocacy, and will implement legislative and policy change to ensure community organisations can advocate.

Supports funding for AYAC.

Greens logo

“Strongly” committed to advocacy and the role of civil society in it. Would abolish gag clauses and support the capacity of organisations to engage in issues based advocacy.

Supports funding for AYAC.

ACOSS logo

Increase the duration of standard contracts for community sector funding.

Liberal party logo

No commitment on contract lengths.

ALP logo

A commitment to longer contract terms.

Greens logo

Commitment to increase the standard duration of contracts to 7 years for most organisations, and 10 years for community controlled first nations organisations.

ACOSS logo

Reform outdated fundraising laws and regulation

Liberal party logo

No commitment to reform fundraising laws

ACOSS logo

Invest in health promotion, prevention and community based health services 

Liberal party logo
Commitment to enter into a dialogue with the sector about future financing of prevention and health promotion.
ALP logo
$115 million Indigenous health package

$60 million for community health centres in Victoria

Commitment to enter into a dialogue with the sector about future financing of prevention and health promotion.
ACOSS logo

Make dental care affordable for all

ALP logo
Commitment to restore funding withdrawn from public dental health services. Pensioner Dental Plan would give Age Pensioners and Seniors Card holders access to $1000 in dental care/ 2 years ($2.4 billion)
ACOSS logo

Abolish the Private Health Insurance rebate and reinvest savings in the public health system

Liberal party logo

No plans to abolish the PHI rebate

ALP logo

No plans to abolish the PHI rebate, although PHI to be reviewed by the Productivity Commission 

ACOSS logo

Abolish the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) and reinvest savings in the public health system

Liberal party logo

No commitment to abolish the EMSN

ALP logo

No commitment to abolish the EMSN

Greens logo

Would support changes to the EMSN, in consultation with the sector.

FUNDING FOR OUR FUTURE

ACOSS logo

Strengthen personal income tax base and revenue for essential services

Liberal party logo

3 stage tax cuts, costing approx. $40B p.a. from 2024; Stage 1 mainly for middle income-earners; Stages 2 & 3 mainly go to high income-earners >$90,000; has tightened tax treatment of some trusts (staples securities) but opposes deeper reforms of their tax treatment.

ALP logo

1 stage tax cut, costing approx. $12B p.a. from 2024, mainly for low & middle income-earners; reverse stages 2 & 3 tax distributions from private trusts at a minimum rate of 30%.

Greens logo

Oppose further tax cuts; Reverse Stages 2 & 3; Buffet Rule so that deductions are capped for those earning more than $300,000 such that they pay a minimum of 35% tax; tax discretionary trusts as companies to ensure a minimum 30% on distributions to beneficiaries; curb use of private companies to shelter personal income.

ACOSS logo

The next government should guarantee affordable access to essential health, aged care and disability services, and implement tax reforms to finance it.

Liberal party logo

Stated position is to ‘guarantee services’ but the above tax cuts put future spending on services in doubt; has tightened tax concessions for super (including a $1.6m cap on fund balances attracting tax breaks) but opposes further reform in tax treatment of wealthier retired people (including removal of franking refunds).

ALP logo

Extend access to services such as dental, child care, and cancer treatment through new funding commitments (see above), remove refunds of excess franking credits to non-taxpayers (apart from those on income support).

Greens logo

Link affordable access to essential health, aged care and disability services to tax reforms, including 15% tax on super fund earnings in pension phase and removing the exemption for the Medicare high-income surcharge for individuals with private health insurance; remove refunds for excess franking credits for people who aren’t wealthy.

ACOSS logo

The tax treatment of housing should be reformed to discourage speculation in asset prices and directly encourage new investment in social and affordable housing by institutions and individuals.

Liberal party logo

Negative gearing tightened
(re: landlord expenses) but opposes deeper reform of negative gearing and Capital Gains Tax.

ALP logo

Negative gearing limited to new housing (apart from past negatively geared investments); Capital Gains Tax discount halved; introduce a new investment incentive for new affordable rental housing.

Greens logo

Reduce Capital Gains Tax discount to zero over 5 years; remove negative gearing (apart from past negatively geared investments) at a limit of one home per person, and support the states to transition from stamp duty to land tax; Federal Housing Trust to issue loans for states, territories and community housing providers for new affordable homes, consider an investment incentive for that purpose.

ACOSS logo

Curb tax avoidance and evasion by companies operating internationally

Liberal party logo

Legislation passed to limit profit-shifting (Multinational Anti-avoidance Law & Diverted Profits Tax); more ATO resources.

ALP logo

Additional measures including: tighter rules to prevent profit-shifting; more transparency re beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, and; financial reporting for companies earning over $100m.

Greens logo

Additional measures including:
tighter rules to prevent profit- shifting; more transparency re beneficial ownership of companies & trusts; a 40% super-profits tax for mineral resources; eliminate fuel tax credits for mining; more transparency re financial reporting for companies earning over $50m.

ACOSS logo

Tighten the tax treatment of alcoholic and other sugary drinks to discourage overconsumption, bring in revenue and improve public health.

Liberal party logo

No announcement.

ALP logo

No announcement.

Greens logo
Introduce a health levy on sugary drinks; standardise alcohol tax rates based on volume of alcohol content.

STRONG COMMUNITY VOICE & THRIVING DEMOCRACY

ACOSS logo

A new standing advisory body – a National Reform Council – should be legislated to advise government on long-term whole-of-government policy challenges, integrating economic, social and environmental goals and perspectives. This body would replace the Productivity Commission.

The National Reform Council would collaborate with a First Nations Voice on challenges facing First Nations communities, the relationship between them and the wider community, and include representation from the First Nations Voice.

Liberal party logo

No plan to establish a new standing advisory body.

ALP logo

The Labor platform commits to a review of the Productivity Commission to consider whether it should remain the principal review and advisory body to the Commonwealth Government. The review would also consider reforms to make the body’s functions and policy guidelines fit for purpose.
No policy announcements have been made to date re: this commitment.

Greens logo

Commitment to legislate so that government decision-making bodies, advisory bodies and community consultation processes require consumer groups and citizens to be represented at the table in a meaningful way.
Would consider the establishment of a statutory National Reform Council as a whole of government advisory body, working together with a Voice to Parliament; and specialised expert Commissions to advise government. 

ACOSS logo

In order to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard in our public debate, peak bodies and advocacy organisations representing people facing disadvantage should be adequately funded.

Liberal party logo

See ‘Community Services’ section

ALP logo

See ‘Community Services’ section

Greens logo

See ‘Community Services’ section

ACOSS logo

Support the legitimate role of community organisations as policy advocates in the interests of their communities by removing restrictions on using Commonwealth funds (or funding pursuant to National Partnership Agreements) for advocacy purposes (gag clauses).

Liberal party logo

No commitment to lift funding restrictions

ALP logo
Support a national regulatory framework which fosters public advocacy of sector and opposes gag clauses
Greens logo

Support the ability of charities and not-for-profit groups to use their funding for issues-based advocacy. Commitment to remove gag clauses from government funding agreements, as well as ensure that charities and not-for- profit groups don’t face a greater regulation and compliance burden than businesses and industry associations. Commitment to defend charities and not-for- profit groups so that they are free to cooperate on issues-based advocacy to advance the public interest.

Download PDF versions of the major party responses 

Download PDF versions of other party and candidate responses


LAST UPDATED 16/5/19 at 11 am

 

ACOSS thanks Good Shepherd Microfinance for its financial support in the preparation of this policy tracker and related promotional materials