The Victorian Greens have generally welcomed major investments in health in the 2022/23 state budget, but say the government has avoided taking the strong action needed to address housing affordability by not investing enough in housing and dumping its social housing levy at the behest of the property developer lobby.
The Greens are also disappointed to see almost no new money for the climate and biodiversity crises, especially after a recent parliamentary inquiry exposed how under-funded nature protection is in Victoria.
Rents are rising and young people are grappling with the prospect they may never be able to afford their own home.
Despite this, the government has ignored the Greens’ calls to introduce a cap on rent increases, which would have supported renters who are now experiencing rising rents across the state on top of flatlining wages.
And on any given night there are 25,000 Victorians experiencing homelessness and more than 100,000 Victorians on our public housing waiting list.
Yet the government has also refused to reintroduce the social housing levy it dumped earlier this year after caving to pressure from the property industry and the Liberal party. At a time when the government’s budget still forecasts debt and deficit, this levy would have raised billions in new revenue that could have gone towards building more public housing.
A recent independent costing obtained by the Greens found that a 2 per cent levy would raise $8.2 billion dollars over the next ten years, while a 3 per cent levy would raise $12.3 billion dollars over that same time period.
Threatened species and ecosystems in Victoria have grown from under 700 to 2,000. Yet the Budget commits only $215 million in total for climate and environment initiatives - much of which is going straight to the forestry industry to continue native forest logging over the next eight years.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“Victoria is currently staring down the barrel of an unprecedented housing crisis that will only get worse without urgent action.
“This budget was a crucial opportunity for the government to support those facing housing insecurity and homelessness and find ways of raising money to build new public homes, and they dropped the ball by not reintroducing the social housing levy.
“While the government’s Big Build is a step in the right direction, we need significant investment each year to build more public housing. Instead, the budget continues to provide $25 billion to build two toll roads, while spending less than a fifth of this on housing. The government has its priorities all wrong.
“Housing is the biggest cost-of-living issue in this state and the budget provides very little relief for renters, by not introducing a cap on rents.
“The Greens want a housing system where everyone is able to afford a safe and secure home to call their own.”
Quotes attributable to deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“Despite us facing a climate crisis and having over 2,000 threatened species and ecosystems on the brink of extinction in Victoria, this budget gives almost no new money to protect our environment or invest in climate solutions. Yet there are millions of dollars to continue destructive native forest logging for another eight years.”
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for transport, Sam Hibbins MP:
“The state government has missed the opportunity to provide temporary free public transport for all Victorians, to help reduce the cost-of-living and encourage people back onto public transport and relieve the congestion on our roads.”
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for health, Dr Tim Read:
“This budget continues a long history of all governments pretending public dental care is not health care, meaning there is no genuine state plan to reduce the record waiting lists for general dental, now exceeding three years in some areas. The only hope for many Victorians to fix their teeth will be if the federal Greens can negotiate putting dental care into Medicare.
“Alcohol and drug treatment funding remains disappointingly lean, as is funding for the prevention of chronic disease and any attempts to better coordinate primary care, again ignoring the best way to reduce critical demand on hospitals and staff.