Each year, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) produces a budget analysis. In 2014 it was titled “A budget that divides the nation”.
Rather than bringing us together in a truly fair, shared effort, this budget entrenches divisions in our community: between young and old and those on high incomes and those struggling to make ends meet. It threatens to destroy the social safety net that has served this nation well – with severe cuts to essential areas such as health, disability support, income support, community services and housing programs. The budget will damage far more than it repairs.
Most of the pain will be felt by people on low incomes, young people, single parents, those with illness or disability, and those battling to keep a roof over their heads. These are the groups doing the ‘heavy lifting’ for the budget repair job.
We were told on election night that the new government would not leave anyone behind but the result of its first budget will be to plunge many of the most vulnerable people in our community into deeper levels of poverty.
Hockey had another go in 2015 but he certainly wasn’t floating all boats…or whatever that slogan was…
ACOSS estimates that, combined, the two budgets strip approximately $15 billion over four years from basic services and supports affecting low and middle income households, with total projected cuts of $80 billion from health and schools funding to the states over the next decade.
Our analysis suggests that low-income and disadvantaged families will be significantly worse off if the 2014-15 and 15-16 Budget measures pass.
This Budget should have begun the work to safeguard the social safety net into the future, by trimming unfair tax concessions for superannuation and reforming negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks. Tax reform must be the next priority for responsible, fair and measured action.
Then along comes Malcolm on his white horse to save us, but he gives the job to Scott Morrison, the most political of animals, the most devoid of initiative and empathy, that he could find.
The new measures in the 2016-17 budget have little overall impact on the bottom line over the next four years. The biggest impacts come from measures announced in 2014 which this budget ‘locks in’, including $13 billion in unlegislated Commonwealth spending cuts, and cuts to health and school funding that were originally estimated to cost the States and Territories $80 billion over the next decade.
The staged reduction in business income taxes, together with a personal tax cut for individuals earning over $80,000, are estimated to reduce public revenue by $9 billion over the next four years and over $50 billion over the next ten years.
ACOSS warned, prior to this budget, that we cannot afford income tax cuts at this time. Our priority should be removing tax concessions and avoidance opportunities to secure necessary revenue.
The business income tax cuts are projected by Treasury to raise national income by 0.6% in 20 years’ time…maybe.
In December we will be subjected to the 7th fiscal statement from the Coalition and, judging by Christian Porter’s big scary number campaign, it will be the poor who bear the brunt yet again.
He is going to target a very select group of the unemployed (which for some reason includes young carers) and, with the help of insanely expensive actuarial studies, fix unemployment, the budget, and the world.
Unemployment payments represent only 7% of welfare payments, and the groups he is targeting are a miniscule proportion of that. I wonder how much the PickwalletsClean (PwC) actuarial study cost him….I mean us.
Rest assured, the “temporary freeze” on medicare rebates, family payment indexation, and the superannuation guarantee will remain, but the “temporary freeze” on politician’s wages and the “temporary levy” on high income earners will be/have been abolished on schedule. Politicians’ wages must increase to maintain the quality of representatives we have now (Lord knows the entitlements aren’t enough to cover….ummmm…trying to think of something they pay for themselves). And how much have the rich had to pay to accountants to keep their taxable income under $180,000? They have done their share of the heavy lifting…apparently.
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