Labor will cut pork-barrel programs by $750 million and refocus government investments that were being directed to marginal seats and driven a debate about the need for a national integrity watchdog.
In his final address to the National Press Club in Canberra before the federal election on May 21, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said his first budget would target the waste and rorts.
Mr Albanese announced that Labor would cut pork-barrelled programs like the Community Development Grants Program by $350 million and the Regionalisation Fund by $400 million. The funds would be returned to deal with budget repair.
"If I have the honour of serving as Prime Minister, it will be my mission - and my responsibility - to ensure that every dollar spent in the budget is used to drive the productivity growth we need to pay down Liberal debt, and to deliver meaningful quality of life improvements for all Australians," Mr Albanese said.
He said Labor would "completely transparent" about the grant decisions under his government. "Arms-length ... they won't be political decisions."
Budget repair would also be helped, he said, by cutting the $3 billion in contractors to the Australian Public Service and the $1 billion the Morrison government had spent on advertising itself while promising to cut the public service by $2.7 billion.
"You know what that leads to - Robodebt," Mr Albanese said. "It doesn't save money. It costs money, because you take humans out of human services and it has devastating consequences for real people."
The waste and rorts had to end, he said.
Mr Albanese said it was time to end the politics of conflict, and he wanted to bring people together.
One of the first things he would do if elected would be to bring business, employer groups and trade unions in an employment summit.
"I want to work with all the Premiers and Chief Ministers on how we can make the Federation more functional and more co-operative," he said.
"I want to rebuild faith in the capacity of politics to find answers, not just start fights."
Small businesses were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and needed a government to support them as they recover and grow, he said, and promoting smooth workplace relations would help enhance efficiency and productivity.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.