Turnbull’s cruel budget - increasing the class gap
03 May 2016
We're all starting to digest the Liberal budget delivered last night. Clearly it is a budget that does not have the vulnerable and disadvantaged nor our environment in mind, and one that will continue to widen the gap between the haves and have nots in Australia - a gap that is already at a 75 year high.
It does nothing to reverse the pain of the last two Abbott Government budgets, continuing on with massive cuts to school and health funding. Gillard's Gonski reforms will not proceed under this Liberal Government. Our hospitals only have funding certainty for one year. The painful cuts to preventative health including dental care, pap smears, blood tests, ultrasounds, mammograms and x-rays will take effect from July 1. This makes no sense medically, socially or economically.
Sadly, the budget delivers almost nothing to people earning less than $80K per year - people who need it the most. Seniors will have an astounding $1.2 billion taken from aged care. Single pensioners will be $366 a year worse off and couple pensioners will be $550 a year worse off under cuts to the Clean Energy Supplement. The opposite is needed when we have an aging population.
Families too will suffer under this budget with large cuts to the Family Tax Benefit Scheme. Even after the income tax cuts, couples with a single income of $90,000 and three children in primary school will be $3,044 worse off per year, and families earning less than $87,000 will not see a cent of tax relief. In a cruel blow, sole parents will be hit the hardest. Those with an income of $65,000 and two children in high school will be $5,063 worse off per year, and those with with an income of $87,000 with two children in high school will lose $4,748 per year.
Youth too will suffer. Being asked to work for $4 per hour in intern programs amounts to modern day slave labor, and with big cuts to education and a 20% cut to university course funding our youth will not end up with the qualifications they need to be competitive in the workforce. This, coupled with no changes to negative gearing will mean our children will be forced to stay home longer, putting pressure on parents who are already sandwiched with debt and responsibility, and no doubt in turn putting pressure on grandparents. Turnbull recommended on radio today that parents should “shell out” for their children to buy a house. This is no solution, and shows no understanding of intergenerational poverty.
I'm very concerned at the continuing cuts to justice services that the vulnerable and disadvantaged rely on. Services like Sussex Street in Victoria Park are already stretched. The Turnbull budget has cut $24 million from community legal centres, $15 million from Legal Aid Commissions and $13 million from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. The Liberals have also failed to properly fund frontline family violence legal services, and there is no funding to address the specific needs of Indigenous women escaping family violence.
There is no mention of climate change or helping the environment, other than to continue Abbott’s ideological attack on environmental advocacy groups. And there is no substantial investment in public transport infrastructure, especially in WA where not a single new rail project has been funded.
People in Swan are being asked to tighten their already tight belts, while this Government spends billions on defence. Which shows this Government is more interested in overseas conflict than creating social cohesion and equality within our own country.
And let's not forget about the bottom line - one that has been steadily increasing since Abbott’s election in 2013. The Liberals claim to be better money managers but time and time again they prove the opposite. This budget is on track to record a $40 billion deficit. This is something we should all be concerned about, especially here in Western Australia where the Liberal Government have also delivered a huge budget blowout of debt creeping up to $27.5 billion by 2016/17.
This budget is typical of a government about to go to an election. Don’t be lulled into believing the Liberal government has listened to voters or care for our people or our environment. There is little planning for a healthy future for our communities or our environment in the 2016 Turnbull Budget.
Labor is the only party capable of governing and reversing the harsh cuts and economic mismanagement of the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s three year reign. This year make sure you are enrolled to vote, vote 1 for Labor and be sure to put the Liberals last.