I always thought I was pretty good at maths but this Green Army thing has got me beat.
“This is a $300 million policy over the forward estimates period and we believe that the $300 million over the forward estimates period will get us at least 1,500 Green Army teams to operate around Australia,” Abbott said.
The Coalition plans to have 250 teams of 10 people ready to start work by next July.
Each team will be comprised of nine trainees – paid a training wage of around $400 a week – and one coordinator on an annual salary of more than $60,000.
The maximum fortnightly dole payment is about $500 for singles and $450 each for couples, so to boost them to $800 a fortnight will cost at least $300 a fortnight extra. That means each team will cost somewhere between $130,200 (300x26x9+60,000) and $146,900 (350x26x9+65,000) a year.
The 1500 teams, that Tony assures us we will have eventually, will cost almost $200 million a year on top of their dole payments and that’s without any equipment, trees, transport or administrative costs.
In its MYEFO budget update, the Coalition said it had earmarked $300 million for the first three years of the Green Army scheme, with a further $222.1 million in 2017‑18 and $289.2 million in 2018‑19 – $811.3 million in total – the cost of which will be partially offset by a reduction in income support payments in the Social Services portfolio.
How do you reduce income support payments whilst paying them a higher training wage and with unemployment predicted to rise?
Needless to say, the government has asked for help in making this work, so here are my ideas.
Each green soldier was costing you an extra $150 a week. Give them $100 and you will save $50 a week per soldier – 50x15000x52=$39 million a year saved.
The 1500 supervisors on “over $60,000 pa” are going to cost you about $100 million a year. Did anyone do that sum? If you don’t have an army you won’t need supervisors or equipment.
Instead of spending all that money on your green army
- increase the Newstart allowance
- provide affordable housing or rental assistance.
- subsidise childcare on a means tested basis
- provide affordable reliable public transport
- provide assistance in writing resumes and interview technique
- establish a government employment service
- commit to needs-based funding for education
- provide means-tested scholarships for university
- reopen the trades training centres
You might be surprised how many of these people will be able to find jobs if they don’t have to live on the streets or worry about how they can possibly afford to buy food let alone school uniforms or a computer. Surely providing shelter, education, hope and some dignity will be far more productive than pressganging young people into slavery planting trees because you are too stubborn to have a carbon price.
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