Labour will reduce high Cost of Living:
- Labour will extend the list of basic food, medicine and consumer items zero-rated under VAT; this will include all baby-food
- Labour will review all levies on goods and services which are imposed additional to VAT
- Labour will reduce the high electricity rates to provide relief to domestic users
- Labour will review the billing system of the Water Authority of Fiji in view of the high complaints regarding excessive and billing practices
- Labour will provide $100 a month to elderly citizens over 65 with no other source of income
- Labour will restore the welfare benefits of hundreds of families who were cut off from the Welfare Assistance Scheme in the past 2 years
- Labour will ensure that all disabled and elderly persons living in genuine hardship receive State assistance
- Labour will periodically review rates of Welfare Assistance to provide relief from increases in living costs
Housing for Low income families
- Almost 20% of our population now live as squatters in unhealthy conditions as a result of . Housing Authority’s failure to provide affordable housing for low income families. Its $70m Chinese loan for the purpose has failed as lots under the project as too expensive for low income workers.
- Labour will redirect the redirect the operations of Housing Authority to developing affordable home ownership schemes for low income workers
- Labour will subsidise the cost of housing to the poor in order to offset high building costs and high cost of land
- Labour’s agricultural estates are designed to address the critical squatter problem by encouraging people to move back to rural areas and engage in commercial agriculture. Labour will provide fully developed lots of 5-6 acres for the purpose with subsidized housing.
FLP will restore FNPF Pension cuts
The regime’s unilateral and unlawful decision to slash pension rates last year by an average 50% across the board has caused severe financial hardship to existing pensioners. The reduction in annuity rates to 8% means that future pensioners will not receive an adequate monthly sum on retirement to enable them to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
- ü Labour will restore the pension rates of all pensioners who have suffered a cut
Additionally, Labour promises to revert the annuity rate to 15%.
- ü Labour will work with employers to increase the rate of contribution so that workers will retire on a decent pension
- ü Labour will index FNPF pension rates to increases in the cost of living. At present it is fixed for life without any provision for cost of living adjustment
Workers rights and Fair Wages :
- Labour will restore the rights of workers and their trade unions and revoke all harsh decrees that violate these rights, in particular those in the civil service who have lost the security of their employment
- Labour will introduce a minimum national wage of between $3-4 an hour, indexed to increases in living costs.
- Labour will restore the 50% cuts in FNPF pensions and restore the annuity rate back to 15%, increasing it gradually to 20%
- Labour will index FNPF pensions to increases in the cost of living
- Labour will restore the retirement age to 60; in the case of civil servants made redundant without compensation, Labour will consider appropriate payment
Labour will set up a special fund to promote self-employment
Labour will protect jobs for locals by monitoring the influx of foreign workers taking jobs away from local people.
Labour will set up a National Service Scheme for unemployed youth involving them in community service. They will be taught vocational skills and receive a living allowance.
Labour’s Health Policies
- Labour will undertake a study to establish a National Health Scheme similar to medicare in Australia
- Management of specialist and divisional hospitals such as CWM, Lautoka, Labasa and Nadi will be contracted out to private health care providers to raise the standard of curative health care. There will be no job losses. Full fledged hospitals will be constructed in Nasinu and Ba.
- Contracting out management will bring in expertise and technology not usually available through the public service system
- More specialist doctors will be recruited under special arrangements to overcome skills scarcity in this area
- Adequate funds will be provided for the upgrading of facilities and urgent maintenance work in hospitals and health centres
- Labour will lay greater emphasis on primary or preventive health care. A vigorous campaign will be directed against the increasing incidence of substance abuse such as yaqona, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, which are major causes of illnesses among our people
- Focus will be placed on the preventive aspects of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and coronary diseases, diabetes, and kidney failure. The campaign to create awareness will be undertaken at school and community levels.
- Fees and Charges – Labour will ensure that no-one is denied proper medical attention because of inability to meet fees and medical charges. The regime has imposed increased fees and charges on a number of services. Some of these are unaffordable by people with low incomes. Labour will review these fees and charges.
Affordable and Quality Education
Labour will introduce a fee-subsidy scheme for approved degree/diploma courses; with the possibility of replacing the Student Loan Scheme Labour introduced in 1999
- Labour wil, meanwhile, review the Student Loan Scheme in light of rising costs of education, Students who successfully complete their courses will have the loan repayment cut by 50%
- Labour will ensure that State scholarships are means-tested and fairly distributed among the various ethnic communities; priority will be given to disciplines relevant to the needs of national development
- Labour will continue with fee-free education but will also provide for a part of the money to be given directly to the deserving parents so that they can use it more flexibly in the overall education of their children.