Budget prioritises billionaires and fossil fuel industries, ignores climate crisis and views of everyday people, say ACT Greens

Australian Greens

The ACT Greens have today labelled the budget a tragic failure to address inequality and the climate crisis.

Instead of investing in planet saving, nation building infrastructure, $62 billion in handouts are directed to the billionaires and the big corporations, whilst the government passively accepts years of low or no wage growth and pushes far too many people into poverty.

One third of large corporations pay no tax in Australia and the wealth of billionaires doubled during the pandemic, yet the government is pressing ahead with Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich – changes which will overwhelmingly benefit men, Greens Senate Candidate Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng said today.

“We have the opportunity to provide services that will benefit all Australians, including making childcare, university and TAFE free for everyone, adding dental to medicare, and raising the rate of JobSeeker,” Dr Goreng Goreng noted.

“This injustice is particularly evident in the government’s failure to address the climate crisis,” Greens candidate for the seat of Canberra Tim Hollo noted.

“Government-led investment in renewables could make Australia the home of green manufacturing and renewable energy exports, providing tens of thousands of people with meaningful work in industries that will be productive for generations.

“Instead, this budget adds another $1.1 billion in new money to coal and gas projects, meaning that $51bn in public money is being directed to the world’s most polluting corporations, the largest amount in recent memory,” Mr Hollo said.

Dr Goreng Goreng also noted that this budget proves that the ACT is not an election priority for this government.

“The Liberal government takes their Senate seat for granted, which is why the lion’s share is being directed to marginal or Coalition-held seats.”

Dr Goreng Goreng also contested a number of assumptions in this budget. “The economic forecasts assume our flailing quarantine and vaccine program will miraculously start to work and that the rest of the world will overcome the pandemic”.

Additional comments attributable to Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo

“The $70.9 million investment for Canberra’s national institutions is a long overdue band-aid, but pales in comparison to the $498 million thrown at the War Memorial for a development that is strongly opposed by the ACT community. The NCA just received a record number of submissions on this issue, and yet the government is running ahead as if the community voice doesn’t matter.”

“The previously promised funding for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission has evaporated. How can we expect to increase public trust, accountability and transparency when the government won’t even live up to its promises to fund the weak version of an Integrity Commission they previously committed to?”

Mr Hollo also highlighted that, as usual, people experiencing poverty have had little say and little to celebrate in this budget, and that the rate of JobSeeker remains at below poverty levels.

“Elected representatives should be listening to people most impacted by their decisions, not the lobbyists and corporate donors that have flooded government offices over the past few months.

“That’s why I am working with the Unemployed Workers Union to give people resisting poverty a chance to reply to this budget, and what it means to their daily lives.” Full details available here.

“The budget also ploughs money into roads while holding back the electric vehicle revolution. People are ready for this shift, yet the budget continues the $7 billion in fuel tax credits to mining billionaires, and directs $173.6m for roads to gas projects.

“A more transformative infrastructure investment would involve improving rail corridors between Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and the coast, a commitment to high speed rail, and more off-road walking and cycling paths.”

“The ongoing funding cuts to our universities show a government scared of ideas, scared of the future. This will have a terrible impact on Canberra, as home to five universities and thousands of academics, staff and students.”

As stated by Greens Senate candidate Tjanara Goreng Goreng:

“The first year of Stage 3 tax cuts will put $5.5 billion more into the pockets of men than women.

“This is part of a long term trend; women on average earn $2 million less than men over their lifetime, with the pandemic costing Australian women an additional $100,000 over their lifetime.

“Women were more likely to lose their job during the pandemic and less likely to be able to access JobKeeper, because women are more likely to be in insecure, casualised work in industries that missed out on government support.”

“A substantive policy response proposed by the Greens includes universal free childcare, changes to the unfair superannuation system, fairer parental leave schemes and closing the pay gap by increasing wages in caring and female dominated industries.

“The budget also fails First Nations people, particularly in preventing incarceration.

“Over 476 First Nations people have died in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yet this budget contains little funding for diversionary programs to prevent First Nations people being locked up.

“We have decades of evidence that programs that provide stable, culturally appropriate housing, mental health and family support services work. It’s long overdue that the government funds these programs.

“There’s also not enough in this budget to take care of the huge number of kids in the system with disabilities, like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. These kids should not be locked up in prisons, but supported with diversionary programs that are self-determined by our people.”

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