A future Labor government will pump more than $6 billion into child care, cutting costs for almost all families and allowing more women to return to work.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese's budget reply on Thursday night included major policy announcements on energy, manufacturing and child care.
Mr Albanese pledged $6.2 billion over four years to scrap the annual childcare subsidy cap.
The maximum childcare subsidy would be increased to 90 per cent, cutting costs for 97 per cent of families.
"For millions of working women, it's simply not worth working more than three days a week," the Labor leader told parliament.
The Productivity Commission would review the sector with the aim of implementing a universal 90 per cent subsidy for all families.
Mr Albanese said the current arrangements derailed careers and cost workplaces years of valuable experience.
"If I'm prime minister, I will make quality, affordable child care universal," he said.
Labor would direct the consumer watchdog to design a price regulation mechanism and examine the ties between funding, fees, profits and staff salaries.
An Albanese government would also spend $20 billion on upgrading Australia's poles and wires to better connect the grid to renewable energy.
The move is designed to create thousands of construction jobs linked to action on climate change and driving down power prices.
A government-owned entity similar to the National Broadband Network Co would use the Commonwealth's ability to borrow money at lower interest rates.
The plan is based on an Australian Energy Market Operator blueprint to rebuild and modernise the grid.
"Fixing transmission is technology neutral and will allow the market to drive least cost, new energy production," Mr Albanese said.
Local supplies and labour would be mandated.
Countering the coalition's $1.5 billion manufacturing strategy, Labor wants a national rail plan to capitalise on public transport projects around the nation.
The plan would undertake a national audit of passenger train capacity and condition, develop a procurement and manufacturing strategy and reinstate a rail supplier advocate.
The existing $270 billion of defence spending on the books would face strict rules to maximise local content and create jobs.
On all federally funded infrastructure projects, 10 per cent of workers would be apprentices, trainees or cadets.
Mr Albanese reiterated his commitment to spend $500 million to repair 100,000 public housing dwellings.
In his speech, the opposition leader described the Morrison government's federal budget as an incoherent grab bag fixated on photo opportunities.
"Remember the 'back in black' mugs they were selling last budget, ahead of delivering the biggest deficit in Australian history?" he said.
"Perhaps the mugs should have said 'dirty deeds, done dirt cheap'."