Labor leader Bill Shorten has used his budget reply speech to unveil a $2.3 billion plan for cancer care, with $600 million going towards eliminating all out-of-pocket expenses for patients.
It will mean six million free cancer scans will be funded by Medicare, including CT scans, mammograms, and ultrasounds.
Another $433 million will go toward covering specialist consultations for cancer patients.
Mr Shorten said it was the most important investment in Medicare since Bob Hawke created it in 1984.
“Under Labor, if you are battling cancer, you can focus on getting well, without worrying about going broke,” he said on Thursday.
“I can promise that if you are in the fight of your life – a Labor Government will be alongside you every step of the way.”
Labor’s cancer care package will also invest $300 million to build centres across Australia to bring cancer treatment to patient’s homes.
“How do we currently ask people that have had radiation treatment today to drive hours one way, to drive hours the other way,” he told reporters at Canberra Hospital on Friday.
“So we're going to go round in the next five weeks and we're going to talk to regional Australia because people in the bush deserve the same quality of health care.”
Mr Shorten will also match the Coalition’s income tax cuts for ten millions Australians earning $48,000 up to $126,000 per year.
But he said the Liberal tax plan does not go far enough for 2.9 million Australians earning less than $40,000, which about 57 per cent are women.
“In a lot of cases, these are the very same workers in retail, hospitality, pharmacy and fast food who have already had their penalty rates arbitrarily cut,” he said.
“Labor will provide a bigger tax refund than the Liberals for 3.6 million Australians. All told, one billion dollars, for low-income earners in this country.”
Labor will spend $1 billion in a skills package which will see 150,000 Australians enrolled in TAFE without upfront fees, and 100,000 apprenticeships made available.
It will also restore funding, cut by the Coalition, back into public schools and hospitals.