Responding to this week’s budget, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi said:
“It's beyond disappointing that the Government has kept the punitive and universally despised activity test, which locks thousands of the most disadvantaged children out of accessing early childhood education and care. Even the Government’s own Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce recommended abolishing the activity test.
“The early childhood education and care workforce desperately need a pay rise and recognition for the important work they do. However, Labor has just tinkered around the edges, with more funding for professional development and skills building whilst ignoring the elephant in the room- wages.
“Despite soaring student debt making news everyday, and the fact that a student debt avalanche will hit on 1 June unless the Government intervenes, there is nothing in this budget to ease the burden for all those with student debt.
“Uni students are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, with many regularly skipping meals, falling behind on rent and being forced to abandon their degrees in favour of paid work. Unfortunately, this budget will provide scant relief, with Youth Allowance and Austudy being raised by a measly $2.85 a week.
“While extra university places in STEM disciplines are welcome, the Government’s stated purpose of these places to support AUKUS is gross. Universities are best placed to contribute to peace not warmongering.
“The Greens welcome the investment in more fee free TAFE places, but rather than one-off measures, we need sustained, long-term investment in public TAFE and the abolition of fees altogether."