The choices made in last night’s Federal Labor Budget have further entrenched the inequalities caused by successive Liberal and Labor Governments - leaving behind the poorest people in the country while filling the coffers of the richest.
“This is not just a cost-of-living crisis, this is an inequality crisis that successive Federal Governments have created through policies that consistently favour the rich over everyone else. And last night was no different,” said ACT Greens Leader, Shane Rattenbury.
“Budgets are about choices. Tonight the Federal Labor Government has made a choice to retain the Liberals’ $254B in stage 3 tax cuts to high income earners, instead of supporting the growing number of Australians who are struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads. Those struggling in our nation’s capital will draw little comfort in a budget that has left them behind.
With Greens in Government in the ACT we are making the right choices to support those who need it the most, but we can't do it alone.
While there are some welcome measures like increases to Medicare funding, money for an Environmental Protection Agency and renewed commitments to fixing the aged care sector, it is disappointing that this Labor Government seems to lack the political will to address the elephant in the room.
Despite the biggest housing crisis this country has ever seen, this budget throws crumbs to those struggling to keep a roof over their head with little more than $1/day increase in rent assistance.
What Canberrans need is a better deal from the Commonwealth government. They need a commitment to invest more in social housing year on year. They need real action to control unaffordable private rents costs. Instead, the Housing Australia Future fund is a stock market gamble on the lives of thousands of people doing it tough.
This budget dodges the interventions Canberrans need through mechanisms like rent controls and a rent freeze. It shows little change from a long history of Federal Governments turning their back on the responsibility to ensure everyone has a decent place to live.
We know that in this budget Jobseekers will see only $2.85 more a day. This is in stark contrast to the $9000 a year (or $24.65 a day) in tax cuts that someone earning $200,000 a year will get.
New funding for bulk billing is a welcome addition, but children and concession card holders are not the only ones struggling to afford primary healthcare.
Further, the introduction of growth targets for the National Disability Insurance Scheme will increase the pressure on our health and social services and exacerbate the risk that people’s needs won’t be met.
The critical decade for climate and environmental action is rapidly running out, with the decisions we make either locking in rapid climate change and environmental destruction or finally making the investments we need to transition our economies to a sustainable future. We need to get off coal and gas, not give polluting industries more taxpayer money.
We welcome $7.5 million funding to support the ACT's Sustainable Household Scheme, but this will barely touch the sides of the climate crisis when we know coal and gas are our biggest problem.
The Prime Minister has admitted that the climate crisis is making the country harder to live in, but this budget fails to take the critical decisions that will urgently cut fossil fuel emissions.
While there are some welcome measures in this year's Federal Budget, it’s disappointing that this Federal Labor Government seems to have forgotten their promise to leave no one behind. The ACT Greens in Government will continue to work hard to represent the needs of Canberrans who are doing it tough and address the increasing gap between the rich and everyone else.