The Greens believe that essential services belong in public hands, where they can be provided for the good of all South Australians. The privatisation of the power network took SA down the wrong path, pushing the cost of electricity through the roof. If history has shown us one thing, if it’s not nailed down, the old parties will sell it off. By contrast, the Greens believe that public ownership of public infrastructure and services is a fundamental part of a fair and prosperous society. Whether it is transport, education, electricity, water, or health, public ownership means we can prioritise collective needs such as justice, equity and the environment. Investing in public services doesn’t just keep our society democratic and accountable, it gives us the means to look after the most vulnerable in our community. The Greens believe that quality education and healthcare are fundamental rights, regardless of where you live or how much you earn. We are committed to keeping public services in public hands. We want our transport infrastructure built with public money, our kids to go to quality public schools, and public servants – not private corporations – delivering government services.
Access To Power
The Greens back the Solar Citizens’ plan for a state owned energy retailer to service low income earners, ensuring that power is accessible for all. Power prices have been pushed out of reach for many South Australians, particularly those who are doing it toughest. The standard response to this from many, including SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, is simply to “shop around for the best deal”. But this is just not a practical solution for many. Those who struggle on low incomes cannot afford to shop around and will never qualify for those pay-on-time discounts. We must act now to ensure that those on the lowest incomes can access power. Short-term interventions – like the recently announced concessions deal - will only reap short-term benefits. The only way to achieve stable, ongoing access to energy is through a publicly owned retailer. Rather than tell people living in poverty to shop around, we can provide a one-stop shop that won’t rip them off. This is the kind of innovative thinking required to ensure that South Australia is a place that values social and economic fairness, and is an important first step in putting essential services back in public hands.
Continued cuts and privatisation are the wrong direction for our schools, TAFE and universities. Education should be up to a standard, not down to a price. The Greens want to rescue TAFE from the failings of corporatisation. We want to restore TAFE as a publicly owned and controlled provider of affordable vocational education, training and skills development. We need a strong public TAFE sector with full ministerial accountability. We want to ensure that elected staff and student representative positions are restored on TAFE councils and at all other relevant levels of TAFE administration.
Everyone has the right to timely, quality healthcare. The fairest, most efficient way to achieve this is through a well-resourced public system. Every South Australian is entitled to the best healthcare system possible, regardless of where they live or how much they earn. We believe that spending on good health is as important as treating ill health – the key is to focus on prevention. Keeping people of all ages healthy, out of hospital and active in the community for as long as possible makes clear sense. Along with ensuring a well-resourced public healthcare system, the Greens want to provide universal access to publicly funded primary dental care. We want to ensure health funding that supports preventive care and health promotion, multidisciplinary teams and networks are co-located services.
A New Direction For Transport
The Romans built roads – but we’d like to think that things have changed since then, and the Greens have an alternative vision for how we get from one place to another. We need good roads, but we also need a well-funded and well-functioning public transport system that gets people where they want to go quickly, reliably, safely and cheaply. The Greens are committed to making South Australia an easier and safer place to cycle. We want to develop a transport system that is integrated with planning for urban development, agriculture, industry, services and recreation. We believe that public transport should be publicly owned and publicly run for the public good. We also believe that riding a bike, whether for fun or as a means of transport, is not only beneficial for a person’s individual fitness, but also has great communal benefits and reduces pollution. Economically, it is much cheaper to provide quality facilities for cycling than it is to build bigger roads, freeways, tunnels and overpasses.