The Albanese Government has used its first budget to start the task of reducing cost of living pressures with significant investments in Paid Parental Leave, Early Childhood Education and Care, TAFE and skills training, affordable housing, cheaper medicine and renewable energy.

These investments will begin providing cost of living relief for millions of Australians, helping people get the skills and training they need to find secure jobs and generating more jobs in renewable energy and related industries. The investments in Paid Parental Leave and more affordable and accessible childcare will allow more Australian women to return to the workforce, and usher in an era of more equitably distributed caring responsibilities.

However, cost of living relief is one part of the solution to the crisis that working people are facing and the budget shows that without changes, real wage cuts will continue for years. The Government has also renewed its election commitment to end a decade of flatlining wage growth and real wage cuts.

The budget makes it clear that modernising our workplace laws, including by moving beyond a one-size-fits all bargaining system is essential to securing the wage growth that working people need, closing the gender pay gap and increasing the participation of women in the workforce.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“After a decade of wage suppression and attacks on working people, the Albanese Government acting to reduce the cost of living and acknowledging the urgent need for wage growth is welcome and long overdue.

“Millions of Australian families have been struggling for years to do more with less, and these investments will make tangible differences to the lives of working people – especially nwomen.

“The investments in Paid Parental Leave, Early Childhood Education and Care, TAFE and skills training, housing, cheaper medicine and renewable energy will deliver cost of living relief and improve the lives of working people, but without wage growth they only address part of the problem.

“As stated in the budget, modernisation of our outdated and failing bargaining system is critical to delivering the wage growth which powers domestic spending and is one of the biggest drivers of economic growth. The need for wage growth has been critical across the economy for many years.

“We look forward to the Government acting on its election commitment to deliver real wage growth through the legislation they will introduce this week – this is the missing piece of the puzzle.”