The most disappointing element of last night’s Federal Budget is its disregard for the “do no harm” principle.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has chosen to allow more than 29,000 Tasmanian children to continue to live in poverty.
These children have no prospect of improved access to bulk billing GPs, shorter waiting lists at our hospitals, better access to training and education or affordable dental services.
Our young people, those just starting to make their own way in the world, dreaming of a good job and homeownership, have also been overlooked.
Adding insult to injury, the $7 per week energy supplement for people struggling on Newstart has been withdrawn while banks get tax cuts.
This is not the country we want to live in.
The Treasurer has ignored those he is meant to represent: Australians don’t pay tax with the expectation it will be given back to them in tax cuts. We want our government to provide access to services funded through our taxes, this is our basic right.
Having a roof over our heads is one of the biggest challenges for all Tasmanians – whether rich or poor, earning an income or looking for a job. There is nothing in the Federal Budget for Tasmanians to combat the biggest challenge we are currently facing.
The Budget fails to acknowledge the day to day desperation of jobseekers trying to live on Newstart. In Tasmania there are 24 applicants for every entry-level job opening.
The Treasurer said the tax cuts were ‘reward for work’: He does not acknowledge the hard work done by those on Newstart to find employment in the increasingly tight social safety net.
Wage increases should not come through income tax cuts, they should come from employers recognises the hard work of Australian workers.
We know the majority of low and middle income Tasmanians would choose more and better essential services over a $10 per week tax cut.
We must care for older Australians, but we also expect our Government to have a vision for the future to ensure today’s youth are healthy, well educated and able to participate fully in the economy.
While there are 14,000 new aged care home packages, the current backlog of need is 100,000 places. This measure hardly even scratches the surface of need.
The key area of mental health gained some new funding for Lifeline Australia and the NDIS, and continuity of funding for some existing programs, however spending has yet to be fully restored to programs rolled into the NDIS. At this stage, further clarification is needed around how much control and flexibility States will have to determine their own gaps and local solutions to meet local needs.