GETTING ON WITH THE JOB
One of the great things about a sports-filled summer is that we get to spend plenty of time playing the armchair critic.
Unfortunately, some people take this a little too far. Nationals leader David Littleproud (SM, Jan 21) criticised Labor's actions to address the cost-of-living challenges, conveniently failing to admit that the Coalition squibbed it in government and has opposed cost-of-living relief from the opposition benches.
Since coming to office, the Albanese government has been hard at work examining Australia's competition law and policies to make up for the Coalition's negligence.
We've increased the penalties for anti-competitive conduct, banned unfair contract terms and commissioned the Treasury Competition Taskforce to investigate a range of critical policy issues, including merger reform and non-compete clauses.
We are also widely consulting on legislating against unfair trading practices and will introduce legislation for a new designated complaints function within the ACCC to allow consumer and small business advocates to fast-track complaints.
Labor also carried out a review last year into the dispute resolution processes of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, with the government supporting both the recommendations of that review.
We're delivering $23bn in cost-of-living measures. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, these measures reduced the rate of inflation in housing, childcare and energy.
Labor's targeted cost-of-living relief measures are not the sort of unfunded cash splash that we saw under the former government, but precise measures aimed at dealing with the cost-of-living pressures where they're most acute.
We've delivered the biggest cut to the price of medicines in the 75-year history of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, saving Australians more than $250m in the past year alone.
We've made it easier and cheaper to see a doctor through increased funding for bulk-billing and opened 58 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics around the country.
We've provided electricity bill relief, support for cheaper childcare and delivered the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade. Labor has done this at the same time as we've delivered the first budget surplus in 15 years, wages are growing at their fastest rate in nearly 15 years and more jobs have been created in our first 18 months than under any new first-term government.
This piece was originally published in the Courier Mail on Sunday the 4th of February 2024.