The state government’s COVID Debt Levy and Victorian Future Fund would be used to tackle poverty and increase public housing under a Victorian Greens proposal, in response to the 2023-24 State Budget.
Under the Greens’ plan, the government's COVID Debt Levy on big business and property investors would be converted into an ‘Ending Poverty’ Levy.
The over $20 billion dollars of revenue raised through the levy would go towards cost-of-living relief and place-based programs including housing, health, education, justice reinvestment and employment.
The $7.9 billion Victorian Future Fund would also be amended so the funds could only be used to build more public housing across the state.
The state's debt would be managed over the long term using the economic benefits of reducing poverty and ending homelessness.
Properly tackling poverty and ending homelessness would improve education, employment, productivity and health outcomes, while reducing costs in areas like emergency departments, the justice system and crisis services.
The cost-of-living crisis means Victorians are struggling to pay the rent, put food on the table and are being pushed into poverty.
Yet under Labor’s budget, despite raising over $27 billion dollars of revenue through the Debt Levy and the Victorian Future Fund, people in need are going to be even worse off.
The Greens say that ending poverty and building more public housing first would be of far more benefit to Victorians than reducing around a mere 15 per cent of Victoria’s debt over a decade.
The Greens will move amendments to the Victorian Future Fund Bill 2023 so it can only be used to invest in public housing, when it is debated in the upcoming sitting week, and will oppose the bill if this amendment isn’t passed.
The Greens will deliver their budget reply in the upcoming sitting week.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens treasury spokesperson, Sam Hibbins MP:
“At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is pushing people to the brink, is the Labor government really going to raise billions of dollars of revenue from big business and property investors, and then after 11 years only have a reduction of around 15% of debt and nothing else to show for it?
“The reality is with the revenue raised from tax changes and the Future Fund, the state government can tackle poverty, end homelessness and create the fair society we all want to live in.
“Just imagine the massive impact over $27 Billion would have on people living in poverty and struggling to put food on the table or without a safe place to call home.
“Poverty is a handbrake to economic growth. Victoria would be much better off managing its finances by tackling entrenched inequality and disadvantage first.”