Labor’s budget keeps people in poverty, while the wealthy and big corporations win big


Labor’s second Budget is a betrayal of the people promised that no one would be left behind. It makes bad choices that put a surplus ahead of supporting people in poverty, while the wealthy and big corporations continue to win big.

During a worsening cost of living crisis, the government is continuing with $254 billion in unfair Stage 3 Tax Cuts over ten years. Over the forward estimates, they’re giving $16.7b in handouts for wealthy property moguls, and $41 billion in fossil fuel subsidies. These tower over Labor’s $14.6 billion spend for people doing it tough.

Cost of living measures in the budget don’t address the scale of the rental, housing and poverty crises the country is facing. Jobseekers will see only $2.85 more a day, and the increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance is as little as $1.12 a day. Capital city rent increases last year were ten times the increase in rent assistance. There is no new money directly invested in building new social and affordable housing.

Although the Treasurer’s speech didn’t mention climate change, pressure from Greens in the balance of power means there is more funding for climate, but Labor will spend more on fossil fuel subsidies than they’re spending on climate change. Meanwhile, the budget cuts $74.3 billion from the NDIS across the next ten years.

While Labor has described their budget as the result of ‘hard choices’, they’re just pushing the hard choices onto people doing it tough.

These bad choices have been made in the context of a $4.2bn surplus, which shows the government has more to spend, but has decided instead to withhold support, such as for single parents with 14 or 15-year-old children, buying a surplus off the back of everyone they have chosen to leave in poverty.

The Greens welcome more than $1.6bn on household and business electrification. It was secured as part of the Party’s negotiations on December’s energy price legislation last year.

Lines attributable to Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

“Labor’s Budget leaves millions behind, leaving people in poverty while billionaires get tax cuts,” Mr Bandt said.

“With a quarter of a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy, Labor’s Budget is a betrayal of renters, young people, and jobseekers. 

“Food bank queues are growing and renters are skipping meals, but Labor’s giving $3.97 a day to a jobseeker getting rent assistance while giving a $9,000 a year tax cut to politicians and billionaires.

“Rent assistance is going up by just as little as $1.12 a day while rents in capital cities go up ten times faster, and 5.5 million renters get nothing at all. There’s no new money directly invested in building public or affordable housing.

“Under Labor, the Budget’s in surplus but people are living in cars and tents. Every dollar of surplus is a dollar not spent lifting people out of poverty. 

“This year, Labor’s making more from rising student debt than they are from changes to their gas tax. Millions of people have been left in poverty while big corporations making record profits win big. 

“Labor hasn’t made tough choices, they’ve made bad choices, spending $254 billion on tax cuts for politicians and billionaires while 1 in 6 children live in poverty. 

“When Budget legislation hits the Parliament, the Greens will push to make the big corporations pay more tax to fund a freeze on rent increases and lift people out of poverty. 

“The Greens have secured changes that make up more than a third of new climate spending, with a $2b package to help households, businesses and public housing get off gas. However, Labor’s still spending $41.4 billion on fossil fuel subsidies, more than the $29.5b climate spend.

“Voters elected this parliament to act on climate and the cost of living. If Labor worked together with the Greens we could immediately stop all new coal and gas, lift people out of poverty, freeze rent increases and wipe student debt.”

Lines attributable to Senator Nick McKim, Greens Treasury Spokesperson:

“This is a budget that delivers for property moguls and the already super wealthy. Under Labor the problems we are facing will get worse. It’s more than disappointing. It’s a betrayal.

“A surplus shows that the government is underinvesting at a time when people desperately need cost of living support. It’s nothing to be proud of - every cent of surplus is unspent money that should be going into the pockets of people who need it.

“There’s a few extra hundreds and thousands on top, but this is the same cake we’ve been told to eat for the last decade. Time and time again they’re making the wrong calls.

“Labor is giving $16.7 billion to wealthy property investors over the next 4 years, while telling renters to suck it up on as little as $1.12 a day.

“Across the next four years, Anthony Albanese is giving four times more tax cuts to the country’s richest people than he’s giving in support to people doing it tough.

“They’re spending almost 500 times more on fossil fuel subsidies than they are on the National Transition Authority.

“All of these decisions are framed by a surplus that shows the government could spend more, but has chosen not to. 

“Jim Chalmers may be able to take the ‘Back In Black’ mug off the Liberals, but to do that, he’s chosen to leave JobSeekers in poverty, forcing them to make impossible choices to survive. A surplus doesn’t mean shit for someone living on $52 a day.”

Lines attributable to Senator Barbara Pocock, Greens Finance Spokesperson:

“This is yet another budget that locks in decades of bad spending, while giving measly one-off concessions to the people who were counting on Labor for help. 

“We saw reports over the weekend that Labor has been scrambling to spend $20 billion so the surplus didn’t look ludicrously large. What does that say to people living below the poverty line, and to everyone stuck on a waiting list for housing, that the government decided that their survival wasn’t important enough?

“The greatest act of kindness in the budget, Labor’s change to single parenting payments, doesn’t even completely reverse Gillard’s act of cruelty by forcing so many single mums onto JobSeeker. Around 15,000 single parents with 14 and 15 year old kids will be left behind.

“Labor may have given up on ‘no one left behind’, but we haven’t. We will fight to make sure this budget does what every government should: give people what they need to live with dignity."