A national scheme to help up to 40,000 families buy a home will start in 2024.

The Help to Buy scheme start date was unveiled at the opening of Labor’s national conference in Brisbane on Thursday.

The government will provide an equity contribution to eligible participants of up to 40 per cent for new homes and 30 per cent for existing homes.

For states to participate, legislation will need to be passed for the scheme to operate in their jurisdiction.

All states agreed at the national cabinet meeting on Wednesday to progress legislation so the scheme will run nationally.

Mr Albanese told the conference his government was ready to seize the opportunities of the decades ahead, before turning to address the pressures facing families right now.

“I say to every Australian, we are here to work for you,” he said.

“The cost of living is the number one pressure on Australian families, which is why it’s the number one priority for our government.”

He told the conference – his first as prime minister – it was important the party “plan and build for what’s ahead” over its next 18 months in government.

“That’s why it’s vital we leave this conference with a plan for progress over the next decade and a platform for victory in 2025,” he said.

ALP national president Wayne Swan ran the true believers through Labor’s policy highlights since World War I before turning his focus to the new generation.

“We all understand that in the long run, winning over the next generation will determine our political future,” Mr Swan said.

“That generation understands the politics of social and economic inequality.”

Mr Swan also pledged to hold a republic referendum and install an Australian head of state “in due course”.

But the conference didn’t go off without a hitch with protests from unions and climate activists greeting delegates and MPs as they arrived.

The powerful construction and manufacturing union to adopt a super profits tax to fund social housing, as the parliamentary team grapples with the Greens to pass its housing investment fund.

CFMEU national secretary Zach Smith joined about 1000 protesters outside the conference, telling the crowd: “We need government working for people and not the other way round.”

The union is also pushing for an Australian ban on engineered stone, which is linked to the deadly silicosis.

Engineered stone is commonly found in kitchen and bathroom benchtops.

But the focus for the prime minister will be on avoiding any embarrassing defeats on the floor of the conference as various factions and unions push motions against signature policies such as the AUKUS agreement, through which Australia will buy nuclear-powered submarines.

The internal Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) is also attempting to strengthen the party’s environmental policies.

LEAN initially wanted to end native logging in this term of parliament and introduce stringent methane reduction targets for the agriculture sector but has watered down its motion.

The motion now states the Labor would support “research, development and deployment of technologies to reduce methane from livestock”, after blowback from the farming lobby and opposition over the tighter target.

It adds the party will continue to work with industry “to identify and overcome technological, economic and social barriers” and reward methane reductions from the agriculture sector.

Successful motions will become embedded in the party’s policy platform, but it remains the government’s prerogative to decide how and when they are implemented.

The three-day conference brings together 402 delegates – 399 of whom can vote – as well as unionists, businesses and rank-and-file members.

During the conference, the parliamentary team will face an internal push to hasten its commitment to sign and ratify an international treaty banning nuclear weapons, and to recognise Palestine as a state.

Both are already Labor policies, but neither has a timeframe attached.

Source: AAP