Greens in government say ACT Budget counters rising inequality


Homes for Canberrans in need, a healthier environment and a better-supported community will be the legacy of the 2021-22 ACT Budget.

“As one of two parties of government, the Greens are proud to be delivering an ACT Budget that will improve people’s lives and build a better normal as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury MLA.

“The pandemic has clearly made existing inequality worse. That’s our starting point with this budget, and the ACT Government’s challenge for the budgets ahead, to stay focused on being a counterbalance to the problems we know trickle-down economics won’t fix.

“With a third of seats in the ACT’s Cabinet, this is the Greenest government in Australian history. Greens values around social justice and sustainability shine brightly in this budget.

“The budget delivers or progresses around 90 commitments the ACT Greens took to the last election, with real climate action, more and better housing, and more support for the community sector and volunteer organisations that do an incredible job looking after local people and our local environment.

“For the first time in nine years, this budget lifts base funding for the specialist homelessness sector, and we’ve lifted it by 12.7 per cent. That’s a ‘better normal’ for these invaluable organisations and the Canberrans who rely on their services, and it’s thanks to our first Greens Minister for Homelessness.

“For years local environment groups have been calling for long-term, secure funding, instead of having to negotiate annual funding arrangements with the government. In our first year of having a Greens Environment Minister, we’ve switched to four-year funding agreements, and we’ve increased the value of the ACT’s environment grants by a third – the first increase to these grants in 15 years.

“As lockdown continues, our community appreciates the need for mental health supports more than ever before. With our Greens Minister for Mental Health, this budget – together with the COVID-19 community support packages we’ve announced during lockdown – is delivering a big boost to mental health support to look after local people including parents, LGBTIQA+ Canberrans, First Nations people, young people, carers, social housing clients, local multicultural communities, people with disability and people who’ve lost work and income during lockdown.

“We are the nation’s only government preparing to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility, with $795,000 in this budget to develop and cost the reforms and conduct significant community consultation. As Australia’s first and only Greens Attorney-General, I am proud to be leading this work toward a better normal that diverts children away from a life of engagement with the criminal justice system.

“As ACT Greens Leader and the ACT’s Emissions Reduction Minister, I’m delighted this budget continues a range of important climate change actions, including implementing the nation’s best incentives to make emissions-free vehicles the new normal. This includes two-years free registration for electric vehicles, and interest free loans of up to $15,000 to be available soon. Only the Greens took a policy for electric vehicles to the election, and it is wonderful to have such enthusiastic support from our partners in government.

“Both parties of government have much to be proud of in this budget, most of all the consistent way we are working together to prioritise community wellbeing – not just over the next four years, but in taking action now to mitigate growing threats to our collective wellbeing, like climate change,” Mr Rattenbury said.

Other Greens election commitments delivered or progressed by this budget include:

  • Advancing the ACT’s circular economy and reducing potent methane emissions from landfill with a trial of food and organic waste recycling, and scoping for permanent processing facilities. ‘FOGO’ is complementary to the ACT’s incremental ban on single-use plastics, giving biodegradable replacements a new life – once they’re disposed of – as high-quality compost.
  • Planting thousands more trees and employing more people to plant and maintain neighbourhood trees, to grow Canberra’s urban forest, bring biodiversity to the suburbs, draw down local temperatures in summer, support Canberra’s most vulnerable people and enhance the Territory’s resilience to climate change.
  • Empowering local communities, who know their paths best, to guide the Government’s active travel improvements. This budget will deliver a Household Travel Survey, a detailed model of vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist interactions in the Gungahlin Town Centre, and an update of the Canberra Strategic Transport Model to reflect 2021 Census data.
  • Fully delivering the Greens’ proposed $1 million extra COVID support for artists, with another $350,000 in Homefront grants and over $700,000 in Amp It Up! grants, for venues to pay musicians and technicians to play live gigs.
  • Fully delivering the ACT Greens’ commitment of $2.2 million for a culturally appropriate mental health, suicide prevention and postvention program for First Nations people.
  • Fully delivering the Greens’ $5 million commitment to establish an environmental upgrades fund for Canberra’s community clubs, to cut emissions, stimulate investment in improving community facilities and reduce gambling harm. The Community Clubs Building Energy Efficiency fund will support clubs to reduce their costs and their reliance on pokies revenue by making energy efficiency improvements with rebates of up to $75,000.
  • Ensuring children have safe and healthy learning environments, free from hazardous materials, with $14 million over four years to accelerate the removal of hazardous materials from schools.
  • Developing a mandated framework of minimum ratios between nurses or midwives and their patients, to improve patient outcomes better support frontline health workers, and employing more nurses and midwives to start meeting the determined ratios.
  • Progressing the Greens’ decade-long campaign for entertainment precincts around Canberra, with $250,000 in this budget to fund preparatory works to change noise restrictions and planning regulations to create vibrant hubs of music, art and food.
  • Making the justice system work for everyone with a dedicated full-time Coroner, to reduce delays for bereaved family, friends and witnesses involved in inquests, and allow a more consistent, restorative approach to coronial proceedings.

The full list of around 90 Greens election commitments delivered or progressed by the 2021-22 ACT Budget is attached.

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ACT Greens Budget 2021-22.pdf 185.71 KB