The Australian Greens today launched their 2013 election platform for a healthy environment, caring society and clean economy.
Standing up for what matters outlines the Australian Greens agenda and policies for the nation including a plan to raise an extra $42.7 billion to care for Australians and our unique environment.
"While Labor and Tony Abbott continue to fight each other, the Greens are standing up for what matters," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
"Einstein once said that you cannot solve problems with the same mind-set that created them, that's why you need the Australian Greens in the parliament.
"The Greens have our eyes firmly fixed on the future and the challenges the 21st century poses.
"We care about what life will be like in Australia in 50 years, not just the next three.
"Standing up for what matters outlines the measures we need to protect our environment, to build a caring Australia and to create a new diversified, innovative and low-carbon economy.
"Every policy announced by the Australian Greens this election will be fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office and we will collect the revenue to pay for every single one of our policies.
"Reforming our nation so the economy serves people and the environment - not the other way around - is central to the Australian Greens vision."
Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt said Australia's future is in our minds, not our mines.
"To secure the innovative industries of the future, Australia must stop spending billions subsidising the fossil fuel sector and redirect money to science, research, education and innovation," Mr Bandt said.
"We need to start closing the gap between rich and poor, which has grown under Labor.
"The millionaires, record profit-making banks, and overseas shareholders, who own 80 per cent of the mining operations in Australia, should be paying more tax.
"Australia should be investing in higher education, not cutting funding to universities and putting students under even greater pressure. We should be increasing Newstart, not condemning people to poverty, and we should be caring for single parents, not making their lives even more difficult.
"We can do all these things and more, like bringing dental care into Medicare for everyone, by standing up to the big mining companies and big banks and demanding a fairer contribution to the community.
"The Greens will deliver a caring Australia, a safer climate and a clean economy while also raising enough revenue to fund vital services and support all Australians."
The Greens have a four-step plan, costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office that will raise an extra $42.7 billion by:
- Fixing the mining tax. So the multi-national mining corporations pay their fair share for mining our natural resources. An improved mining tax will raise $21.8 billion over the three years from 1 July 2014.
- Abolishing tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry and assistance to carbon capture and storage programs. This will raise an additional $12 billion over the forward estimates. Please note: These proposals are directed at big mining companies and ending tax breaks for fossil fuels. They will not impact farmers in any way.
- Introducing a Public Support Levy on the big banks. A 20 basis point levy on bank assets over $100 billion will raise $8.4 billion over the three years from 1 July 2014.
- Increasing the marginal tax rate on incomes over $1 million. Increasing the rate to 50 per cent from 1 July 2014 will raise $500 million over the forward estimates.
The $42.7 billion will provide enough revenue to pay for the Greens' PBO costed policies including:
- Reversing Labor's uni cuts - $2.3 billion.
- Increasing university base funding by 10 per cent - $1.5 billion over the forward estimates.
- Lifting overseas aid to 0.7% GNI by 2020 - $4.8 billion over the forward estimates.
- Increasing the amount available to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to $3 billion a year for 10 years.
- Providing $3 billion to house the homeless.
- Boosting funding to Regional Arts by $10m over the forward estimates.
The four new costed initiatives that have been announced today are:
- Increasing Newstart and Youth Allowance by $50 a week, providing a fairer indexation for all allowance payments, providing an extra $40 a week for single parents, introducing a higher income threshold for single parents and providing better services to help people into secure work - $9.2 billion over the forward estimates.
- Boosting funding for the Gonski school reforms by $2 billion to ensure all Australian children have a high quality education sooner and providing better assistance for kids with disabilities - bringing total funding for Gonski to $5 billion over the forward estimates (including the government's contribution of $3 billion). This would double the funding from Labor in the next two years from $500 million to $1 billion in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
- Increasing investment in research and development to 3% of GDP by 2020, encouraging greater uptake of private investment in R&D and restoring funding to the Sustainable Research Excellence program - $2.55 billion over the forward estimates.
- Identifying and protecting important habitats and increasing funding for threatened species - $120 million over three years.