The Greens' 2016 budget principles | Australian Greens

The Greens' 2016 budget principles

It's time to grow the new economy, to generate sustainable jobs and income for the future.

Growing the new economy

The Greens want an Australia where everyone gets great public education and healthcare, which means being upfront about growing our revenue base by getting rid of unfair tax breaks and asking the very wealthy to pay more. 

We're also unapologetically opposing personal and corporate tax cuts this election and refusing to join a tax cuts arms race that will undermine public education, health and welfare. Labor and the Liberals have become so myopic that they'll cut support for single parents because of their fetish for a surplus, forgetting that the economy is meant to work in the interests of society, not the other way around. 

It's not whether the budget is in deficit or surplus that matters, it's the sustainability and justification for the budget position. The Greens believe it is better to have a small deficit and well-funded public schools than a small surplus and an undereducated society.

It's time to grow the new economy, to generate sustainable jobs and income for the future. 

The Liberal and Labor parties treat debt like a four letter word. We know the same thing as most homeowner: if you can afford to borrow now to secure an asset in the future, it can be a wise investment.

Australia has a AAA credit rating and we have the ability to repay money we borrow. Now is the time to take advantage of this historic opportunity for governments to borrow cheaply and make the investments that will make us a renewable energy superpower through the construction of clean, productive infrastructure.

The Greens' Budget Principles

Raise the revenue we need

So that we can fund the world-class public services that people in this country rightly expect, as well as grow the new economy, the Greens will get rid of unfair tax breaks for the big polluters and the very wealthy, make our tax system more progressive and shift taxation on to social and environmental ‘bads’, like pollution.

Green a growing economy

The Greens will decouple growth from pollution and resource use and continue to push for a better way of measuring the country’s wellbeing rather than a narrow focus on GDP. However, to meet the climate crisis, the Greens’ plans would increase GDP by growing the new, clean economy.

Get money moving

We also need to borrow sensibly to fund the infrastructure we need. There is greater scope for government debt to fund infrastructure and productive capital such as public transport, renewable energy and getting freight on to rail. In many ways, there has never been a better time for the Australian government to borrow to fund key public infrastructure.

Managing the surplus and deficit

Since Federation, the Federal Budget has been in deficit far more often than it has been in surplus. Many households and businesses are routinely in deficit – it is how they grow sustainably. With the mining investment boom years receding and the proceeds squandered by previous governments, it will be harder to return to surplus until the new economy has grown and we’ve removed unfair tax breaks. As a guiding principle, as we grow the new economy any deficits should be kept to around 3% GDP. To ensure a better national conversation about debt and deficit, government borrowings for capital works should also be accounted for in a set of accounts separate to any borrowings to service any Budget deficits.

Budgets should reduce inequality 

A key role of government is to reduce inequality, and Budgets are an important part of that task. Budgets should be accompanied by an ‘inequality impact’ statement, which shows how the Budget will reduce inequality in Australia.The Greens do not accept the accepted position of the old parties that ‘full employment’ means official statistics of 5% unemployment. The government should actively seek to drive down unemployment closer to frictional levels.

Read our plan

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