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Tess Ikonomou

Opposition looks to bounce back from gaffe

Labor insists the national unemployment rate does not tell the full picture, as it seeks to recover from its leader’s failure on economic figures.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is in Tasmania for a second day, campaigning in the marginal Labor electorate of Lyons.

There he will announce the restoration of Medicare support for bulk-billed telehealth psychiatric consultations for regional patients.

If elected an Albanese government would reinstate a 50 per cent regional loading to the video consultations.

Funding the medical care will cost $31.3 million over four years, and is expected to support 450,000 consultations during that period – or more than 1.4 million appointments over 10 years.

Mr Albanese will look to move on from his gaffe of Monday when he was unable to recall the unemployment rate or official interest rate.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers argues the four per cent unemployment rate does not paint the full economic picture of Australia.

“It doesn’t tell the whole story of the labour market,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“The defining feature of the labour market right now is the fact that even though we’ve got the unemployment rather falling in welcome ways, we’re still not generating the real wages growth that we need,” he said.

“The government doesn’t have a plan to deal with the skill shortages and labour shortages.”

The shadow treasurer also laughed off suggestions from the coalition that Labor’s policies would cost $300 billion over 10 years.

“If only (the government) spent as much time tracking their own spending as they send making up stories about our spending,” he said.

“They sit around all the time worrying about making up stories about Labor’s costing.”

Labor has promised to release its costings later in the election campaign.

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