The Victorian Greens have welcomed major investments in mental health and schools in the 2021/22 state budget, but say the government’s decision to cut public sector wages and jobs will undermine our economic recovery.
The Greens were pleased to see the government adopt the Greens’ policy of a land rezoning tax, and are glad the Treasurer has responded to Greens’ submissions calling for this, to both curb corruption and stop developers from making massive unearned profits.
However, as part of its budget, the Victorian Labor Government will cut future real wages of the state’s 325,000 public sector workers, and strip $3.6 billion from the public sector.
This follows the government spending $9 million dollars on private consultants to tell them where to cut the public service.
Our public sector workers supported us through the pandemic, and yet now the government has decided to cut their real wages and cut their jobs.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the Greens were deeply concerned these cuts would lead to loss of jobs in essential services, and depress wages across the economy.
She added it was outrageous that the workers who were the backbone of our COVID-19 public health response were being short-changed.
This is no way to treat our essential workers, when the government could instead raise revenue through adopting the Greens’ idea of a tax on the super profits of the big banks.
Every economist has said that if you cut the wages of our public sector workers, it depresses wages across the whole economy.
And at a time when low wage growth is our biggest economic problem, this is the exact opposite of what the government should be doing.
We need the Treasurer to reveal exactly where these cuts will be made, as well as the details of the review it commissioned from private consultants.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“It feels really unfair that the Labor government is trying to save money by making such deep cuts to the public sector, when these are the workers that were so essential to getting us through the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, we all saw what happens when we don’t have properly funded public health services. Now is not the time to be cutting the public sector even further.
“Health workers, teachers and other essential public workers should be recognised for their life-saving work, but with this budget it feels like they’re being punished.
“The Greens will be pushing the government to reverse this decision.”
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
"This is no way to treat our essential workers, when the government could instead raise revenue through adopting the Greens' idea of a tax on the super profits of the big banks.
"Every economist has said that if you cut the wages of our health workers, teachers and public sector workers, then it depresses wages across the whole economy.
"I have to say I am surprised and disappointed that a Labor Treasurer is following Scott Morrison in cutting future wages and jobs of our essential public workers, when the people of Victoria need strong wages growth for a healthy economy."