In welcoming the 2023-24 ACT Budget, the ACT Greens have highlighted the cost-of-living crisis and the importance of governments making bold choices.
“The Greens will always ensure that a Budget from any Government we are part of prioritises housing, climate, environment and support for the most vulnerable in our community,” said ACT Greens Leader, Shane Rattenbury.
“The Greens know that budgets are about choices and priorities and, while this Budget may not exactly reflect the choices and priorities of a solely Greens budget, we are pleased to see investment in these priority areas.
“The ACT Greens advocated strongly for a greater investment in housing and we are pleased to see an overall investment of $345m.
“This investment is supported by a $20 million funding package for vital homelessness services like the Rough Sleeper Program, and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service.
“We are really pleased that this budget provides $177.1m to upgrade, insulate and improve public housing and $60m for the Affordable Housing Fund. We believe that the fund will ease some of the housing supply pressures we’re experiencing in the ACT.
“While we welcome these investments in housing, it isn’t what a Greens Treasurer would be delivering, far from it. The Greens want public housing to make up a much larger portion of ACT Government’s investment in housing.
“To really respond to the housing crisis we need to accelerate the delivery of 400 new public houses. The ACT Greens will continue pushing Labor to directly invest more in public housing, and fight for the 1 in 3 people who rent in this country and are being left behind.
“The expansion of the Utilities Concession eligibility criteria to include anyone with a Commonwealth Health Care Card will help tackle cost of living pressures. 12,000 more households will benefit from this support, taking the total number of eligible households to 43,800.
“We’re really pleased with the investment into mental health services, especially funding towards targeted eating disorder programs and child and youth mental health.
“We welcome the announcement of free 3 year old preschool one day a week. However, it needs to go further. Our 2020 election commitment called for a minimum of 15 hours a week in order to have real educational impact and workforce participation outcomes.
“While we welcome the increased investment in public transport and active travel networks, there is a long way to go to ensure Canberra is well connected city with good, reliable public transport and active travel networks. This is central to the Greens vision for Canberra
“Canberra is a growing city. As more and more people realise what a great place this is to live, we need to ensure that we make the right choices for the people and for the planet.
“The Greens are committed to doing this. And with more Greens than ever in Cabinet, we are doing everything we can to push the Government to make the right choices and ensure Canberra remains the most progressive city in the country.
“We know that our work is far from done. The ACT Greens are ready to take bold steps to address the growing inequality crisis. We need to address the systematic issues that are creating a growing divide between the rich and the poor. And the Greens are committed to doing that – both locally and federally,” said Mr Rattenbury.