Mr Albanese announced a Labor government would introduce the Working Family Childcare Boost, scrapping the subsidy cap of $10,560 per child currently in place for families earning between $189,390 and $353,680 a year.
Moreover, Labor would lift the maximum childcare subsidy rate to 90 per cent, from the current 85 per cent, saving an estimated 97 per cent of all families in the system between $600 and $2,900 a year.
For households earning an annual income of $530,000, there would be no subsidy.
According to Mr Albanese, this plan would cost $6.2 billion over four years.
He explained that if he became PM, he would also task the Productivity Commission with conducting a comprehensive review of the sector with the aim of implementing a universal 90 per cent subsidy for all families.
“The ACCC will design a price regulation mechanism to shed light on costs and fees and drive them down for good. The ACCC will examine the relationship between funding, fees, profits and educators’ salaries,” Mr Albanese said.
“Taxpayer dollars spent on childcare should flow directly through to savings for Australian families.”
Future made in Australia
Also headlining Mr Albanese’s reply speech was A Future Made in Australia strategy, which sets out Labor’s blueprint for local manufacturing jobs and skills, encompassing a national rail manufacturing plan, a defence industry development strategy and an Australian skills guarantee.
The Opposition Leader called this strategy a “mass mobilisation of resources” and “an across-the-board strategy for job creation, training and skills; lower energy prices; infrastructure; government purchasing, manufacturing and construction”.
If Labor was to take governance, Mr Albanese promised it would ensure that on every major work site receiving federal funding, one in 10 workers would be an apprentice, trainee or cadet.
“A Labor government will implement concrete rules to maximise local content and create local jobs,” the Opposition Leader said.
Modernising the grid
Mr Albanese also mapped out his plan to better Australia’s energy infrastructure, pledging a $20 billion investment over six years to establish a new Rewiring the Nation Corporation to rebuild and modernise the national energy grid.
“Australia’s electricity network was designed for a different century,” Mr Albanese said.
“The current network takes no account of the rise of renewables as the cheapest new energy source, and doesn’t help link these new sources up to the national grid.”
Promising to “tackle this head on”, the Opposition Leader said the modernisation works would be done at the lowest possible cost by tapping into the Commonwealth’s ability to borrow at lower interest rates.
“Rebuilding the grid will create thousands of jobs — particularly in regional Australia — and deliver up to $40 billion in benefits,” Mr Albanese said.
The Opposition Leader wrapped up his speech by referring to 2020 as a “year from hell”, but he assured the public that “we can beat this recession, we can launch a recovery and we can build a future where no one is held back and no one is left behind”.