Labor believes that a smart nation needs a smart capital. A Shorten Labor Government will deliver for the ACT.Labor’s plans for the ACT demonstrates our commitment to a growing, vibrant Australia.

In contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to a $50 billion tax cut for large companies will not deliver jobs or growth for Canberra. 



The Abbott-Turnbull Government has slashed jobs out of the Australian Public Service. More than one-in-ten public service jobs have been lost under this Liberal Government and several agencies are facing relocation.

The federal public service is the lifeblood of Canberra. The Liberals have cut far harder and deeper than they said they would do at the last election.

A Shorten Labor Government will:

Remove the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s strict enterprise bargaining requirements that force agencies to strip away workers’ rights.

  • Not proceed with the increase to the efficiency dividend the Liberals announced in the 2016-17 Budget, instead achieving the same level of savings from areas which minimise the impact on jobs and the positive role of the public service.
  • Work towards replacing the 2016-17 Budget Efficiency Dividend and the 2015-16 MYEFO Efficiency Target for national cultural and collecting institutions in the 2017-18 Budget with new measures that achieve the same savings, without targeting staffing costs.
  • Re-invest the $500 million the Turnbull Government set aside for public sector transformation to keep Medicare in public hands. This funding will also improve service provision at the Australian Tax Office and the Department of Human Services to reduce Centrelink call waiting times and increase call centre staffing.
  • Not proceed with Barnaby Joyce’s dodgy attempt to uproot a vital government agency for his own political gain. A Shorten Labor Government will ensure the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority continues its good work in Canberra with the highly skilled workforce needed to support proper farm science.
  • Reverse Malcolm Turnbull’s unfair cuts to paid parental leave, meaning 80,000 families with new babies – including many public servants and Australian Defence Force personnel – will be as much as $11,800 better off than they would be under the Liberals.
  • Safeguard fairness and transparency in the setting of remuneration for the ADF, and provide ADF personnel with a greater voice in the remuneration process. Labor will provide a grant of $100,000 per annum to improve the capacity of the Defence Force Welfare Association to advocate on behalf of ADF members, particularly in relation to remuneration determinations.


The Liberals ripped $115 million out of CSIRO in the horror 2014 Budget. One-in-five CSIRO scientists lost their jobs as a result.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore CSIRO’s capacity to drive the national science, research and innovation agenda that will grow new industries and build a smarter Australia.

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $250 million in CSIRO to reverse Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts and ensure the future of key national scientific infrastructure like ‘The Dish’ at Parkes and the RV Investigator.

In addition to rebuilding and protecting CSIRO’s research capacity, Labor will immediately move to halt any further job cuts and commission an independent review of CSIRO’s corporate structure, management and functions.

On top of our $250 million commitment to CSIRO, Labor has committed an additional $50 million to CSIRO for climate and reef science to protect the Great Barrier Reef.


A Shorten Labor Government will reverse the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cruel cuts to Trove, allowing the National Library to continue providing its unique online collection of Australian culture and history for current and future generations.

As a result of the nearly $6 million cut from the National Library, it has no longer been able to provide staffing to add new content to Trove.

We will deliver $3 million a year over four years so the National Library can resume adding new content to Trove and keep building on its success.

Trove is one of the largest digital cultural collections in the world and has become essential national research infrastructure. It has some 471 million items available for free access, and has more than 20 million unique users every year. Museums, libraries, galleries, archives, historical societies and research bodies all across Australia access it every day.

The Liberals have stripped $37 million from our national institutions, including the National Library, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the National Archives of Australia.


A Shorten Labor Government will fund over a period of three years:

  • An additional $120,000 for Street Law ACT.
  • An additional $120,000 for Canberra Welfare Rights and Legal Centre.
  • An additional $450,000 for the Women's Legal Centre.

This money will make a difference to the lives of vulnerable Canberrans, giving them the help they need when facing domestic violence, homelessness or consumer rip-offs.

The work that community legal centres do is enormously valuable to creating a fairer and more just society.

Over the last three years we have had funding ripped out of community legal centres, meaning many Canberrans most in need of legal assistance are denied access.


Labor will ensure that access to health care is determined by your Medicare card, and not your credit card, and will reverse the Turnbull Government’s GP tax by stealth.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 January 2017.

This will apply to all services provided by GPs, allied health and other health practitioners and medical specialists, taking pressure off Canberra’s hospital system and preventing people from getting sicker and needing more invasive and expensive treatments.

Labor will invest $2 billion more than the Liberals into our busy hospitals across Australia which will help to reduce waiting times for emergency departments and elective surgeries. The ACT hospital system will benefit directly from this investment, receiving an injection of $35 million.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore the National Health Reform Agreement for four years, at the originally agreed funding formula of 50 per cent of growth in costs based on the National Efficient Price, and provide additional support to the States and Territories to reduce waiting times for elective surgery and in public hospital emergency departments.


Under Malcolm Turnbull’s plans, Canberra’s classrooms would be $515 million worse off over the next ten years.

In contrast, a Shorten Labor Government will reverse the Liberals’ cuts and honour the Gonski education agreements on-time and in-full.

Labor will invest an additional $25 million in Canberra schools in 2018 and 2019 alone.

Your Child. Our Future will put needs-based funding permanently at the heart of our school system – so every student in every school will get the support they need to achieve their best.

Labor’s plan will deliver:

  • More one-on-one support and attention for every student.
  • Early intervention programs in every school, so that students don’t fall behind.
  • Remedial literacy and numeracy support in every school.
  • Extension classes to challenge students that are excelling in class.
  • Increased Year 12 completion through more alternative and vocational pathways, so all students leave school with the skills they need for jobs in the modern economy.
  • Access to specialist allied health support – like speech and occupational therapists.
  • A focus on evidence based teaching and learning to make sure our schools do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.
  • More subject choices.
  • More extra-curricular activities.
  • Targeted assistance for students with disability through the interim disability loading.
  • Additional funding to the More Support for Students with Disabilities program.


Labor is the nation building party. From the Snowy Mountains Scheme to the National Broadband Network, Labor builds the infrastructure for the jobs of the future.

The original Labor NBN would have delivered optic fibre to 93 per cent of homes and businesses, providing speeds of up to one gigabit per second on a network easily scalable to much higher speeds in the future.

In 2013, Malcolm Turnbull scrapped Labor’s world class fibre-to-the-premises NBN. Instead the Liberals are building a slower, second-rate copper NBN that will leave Australia behind and hamstring our economy into the future.

Already, ACT tech businesses are voting with their feet by setting up in Gungahlin, where Labor’s fibre-optic connections are available. The rest of Canberra is still waiting for Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN.

Malcolm Turnbull has made a mess of the NBN. In the last three years, the cost of his second-rate NBN has nearly doubled, the time it will take to build has more than doubled, and Australia has dropped from 30th in the world for internet speeds to 60th.

Labor will phase out Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN and scale up the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises. This will deliver fibre-to-the-premises to up to two million homes and businesses during the initial build that would otherwise get Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper version, including homes and businesses in Canberra.

A Shorten Labor Government will also commission Infrastructure Australia, with input from relevant experts, to manage the development of a plan that outlines how and when the parts of Australia left with Mr Turnbull’s second-rate NBN should be transitioned to fibre-to-the-premises.


A Shorten Labor Government will provide an extra $14.8 million in funding over four years to allow Canberra’s iconic Questacon to lower its admission fees, giving more families access to the wonders of science.

A Shorten Labor Government will support Questacon to lower admission fees for all visitors by $7.50. This will bring adult admission prices to $16 and a child admission to $10.

Labor believes that all children and adults, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to be inspired by the exhibitions at Questacon, whether they are Canberra locals or visitors to our national capital. A Shorten Labor Government will make sure more do.


Labor will commence the duplication of the Barton Highway – a key piece of regional infrastructure and part of the National Highway Network.

By committing $76 million to this project, Labor is prioritising road safety and freight logistics between the Hume Highway and Canberra.

The stretch between Murrumbateman and the NSW/ACT border is already a notoriously high accident area, which will come under increasing pressure in future years with the rapid growth in the Yass Valley.

The Barton Highway Draft Improvement Strategy showed an above average casualty crash rate per kilometre. The duplication will improve safety for commuters and will also improve freight logistics within the wider region.

With the first international flights from Canberra taking off in September, upgrading the Barton Highway will also support opportunities for local producers and enterprises to seek out international markets.

On announcing the $76 million commitment, Labor called on the NSW State Government to match this commitment with $19 million.

The joint funding of $95 million would include up to $6 million to further plan the entire duplication of the project and to install smart safety technology aimed at improving driver alertness, knowledge of conditions, and to manage incidents.

The Turnbull Liberal Government has refused to match Labor’s funding commitment for the Barton Highway.


Labor understands that there is a lot more to the Capital Region that exists outside of the borders of the ACT. A Shorten Labor Government would work together with the ACT Government and local councils in the region to invest in infrastructure and facilities that benefit locals and reduce the burden on the ACT.

Labor will undertake the proper transport planning needed to make sure that the growing Queanbeyan/Palerang region has the transport infrastructure it needs.

This comprehensive transport solution package will address existing and future growth pressures in the region, and undertake the necessary design, engineering and earthworks planning for a series of road and public transport initiatives.

Labor sees the strategic potential for the regional economy in opening up the Port of Eden and the Canberra International Airport to commercial freight operations. To make the most of this opportunity, we must invest in critical planning work on inland infrastructure.

A Shorten Labor Government, would work with Mike Kelly and ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, on a broader regional economic strategy, including eliminating the impediments created by the ACT-NSW border. Given the importance of cross-border issues in the region, the Federal Government has a specific role to play in encouraging the expansion of local network infrastructure like roads and rail.

Labor’s approach to urban development covers regional cities, not just capital cities. Labor includes Canberra-Queanbeyan as one of the 20 cities addressed by its cities policy.

Our transport solution package comprises:

  • $2 million towards the Queanbeyan Town Centre Queens Bridge Dip Upgrade to address flooding issues. We call on the NSW Government to match this funding, so the road can be raised.
  • $2 million commitment to fund the necessary studies for the duplication of Pialligo Road from Canberra Airport to Queanbeyan.
  • $2 million to convene a cross-border conference to deliver local public transport solutions exploring the options for establishing commuter passenger trains from NSW to Canberra, including a component for feasibility studies.
  • $600,000 to complete studies into the construction of Dunns Creek Road providing 16,000 residents in the newly settled Googong Development with direct access to the Monaro Highway.

Labor is the only party that has a clear plan to grow our cities and regions, and to boost jobs through nation-building.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter


Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.