‘Fell short’: Albo takes aim at Morrison

Anthony Albanese lashed PM Scott Morrison’s bungled vaccine rollout as he made a major $10bn pledge in his budget-in-reply speech.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has pledged to tackle the home ownership crisis by building 30,000 new homes for the “heroes of the pandemic” including nurses, police, defence veterans and women fleeing domestic violence under a $10bn social housing package.

In what is likely to be his last budget-in-reply speech before the federal election, Mr Albanese outlined his alternative approach if elected Prime Minister including building new social housing properties for disadvantaged families.

He also lashed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s bungled vaccine rollout and the failure to fully vaccinate aged care workers and older Australians.

Mr Albanese said Labor would build a further “10,000 affordable housing properties for frontline workers – the heroes of the pandemic, those nurses, police, emergency service workers and cleaners that are keeping us safe” under the program.

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“The security of a roof over one’s head should be available to all Australians,’’ he said.

“Young people despair about whether they will ever afford a first home.

“Families struggle to meet rent payments and older women are the fastest growing group subject to homelessness.

“I’m proud to say that Labor in government will create a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, with the annual investment return to build social and affordable housing and create thousands of jobs.”

Mr Albanese returned to the theme of his own childhood living in public housing with his single mum.

“Our home gave us so much more than somewhere to sleep. It gave my mum and I pride and dignity and security, and it gave me a future… a future that led me here tonight,’’ he said.

“Our housing plan is good for jobs too. This initiative will create over 21,500 jobs each year.”

“Australia must do more to care for the brave men and women who have worn our uniform. This fund will provide $30 million over the first five years to build more supportive housing and fund specialist services for veterans who are either living or at risk of homelessness.”

Mr Albanese also signalled low wage growth would be a major issue at the next election with Labor offering a better future.

“So much better than real wages declining over the next four years after flatlining over the last eight years,’’ he said.

“So much better than three more years of scandal and a government treating taxpayers funds as if they are Liberal Party funds.”

“This budget offers a low growth, low productivity and low wage future — and a trillion dollars of debt — is that really the best we can aspire to?”

Mr Albanese said there were three guiding principles that will drive Labor in Government.

“An economy that delivers for working families,’’ he said. “Investing in Australia’s future.

“No one held back and no one left behind.”

Mr Albanese also claimed that the centrepiece of last year’s budget, JobMaker, had fallen short.

“It fell short — by 449,000,’’ he said. “That’s right — not 450,000, just 1000. Missed by that much.

“Like so much with this Government it was all smirk and mirrors.”

“The Liberals offer up nothing but a showbag budget.

Accusing the PM of buck-passing and blame-shifting, he said Australians deserved so much more.

“When the black summer of bushfires raged, he said ‘I don’t hold a hose, mate’,’’ he said.

“Now, with our tourism and education industries still locked-away from the world — and with more than 30,000 Australians stranded overseas he says quarantine is a matter for the states and getting the vaccine isn’t a race.

“He puts out a press release threatening to put returning Australians in jail and then blames the media for reporting it.

“Locked out or locked up — a message no Australian Government should send to our own citizens.”

“Australian citizens were promised they would be home by Christmas last year.

“We were also told we were at the front of the queue for vaccines, when we in fact have one of the slowest rollouts in the world.

“Now, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer can’t even agree on when Australians will be vaccinated.”

Read related topics:Scott Morrison

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