Good for teeth, bad for brains: A fairer budget but no plan for the future
Tonight's Federal Budget includes some major reforms that will benefit many Australians but the political surplus target has led to substantial under-investment in education and patently insufficient support for the most vulnerable Australians, the Australian Greens said today.
“This Budget is good for teeth but bad for brains,” Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"It is great news that the Greens have helped stop the big business tax cuts, but we'd prefer to see this revenue spent on supporting the most vulnerable people and to drive systemic change and funding of services, for example funding the Gonski reforms for school education.
"While the government says a surplus is our best defence against global change, we say that healthy, well-educated and confident Australians, trained and working in the new, clean economy are our best preparation for the challenges of the 21st century.
"It's not smart planning for the future to put no new money into schools, skills and training, and higher education, to cut over 3000 public service jobs, or to invest virtually nothing in innovative manufacturing to set us up for a future beyond the mining bubble.
"We will look closely at the detail of the government's plans to increase allowances and payments to see if they are the fairest way of supporting Australians.
"We should be prioritising helping the most vulnerable Australians, by increasing Newstart by $50 a week. $210 a year is an insult to people who are struggling to survive on $244 a week."
Greens achievements in this Budget include:
- half a billion dollars for dental health and a commitment to negotiate towards Denticare;
- not proceeding with the big business tax cuts;
- $20 million for a high speed rail unit;
- $54 million for maths and science in education, undermined by the government's $316 million fee hike for maths and science uni students;
- $40 million to protect our cultural Institutions from the government's efficiency dividend;
- the most significant funding boost SBS has ever received - $95m over 5 years and $63m over 4 years for indigenous television;
- $3.5 million for a National Children's Commissioner;
- Caring for Country second phase funded, but undermined with inclusion of more programs and no indexation, representing an effective cut;
- $1.5 million to secure the Job Watch employment legal service;
- $20 million for the Democracy Walk and the Royal Exhibition Building;
- liquid assets test for income support has been doubled; and
- superannuation reforms are a good start to make the system fairer, but the Greens have a better plan on the table.
"We want to support small business and would support the tax cut if the government went ahead with it. It's not clear whether the loss carry-back measure is the most effective way to support small business and we look forward to discussions with the government and the Business Tax Working Group about finding the best way forward.
"The Greens will work to improve this Budget where we can."
|Download CM Press Conference Budget 2012-05-08|