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Issue #1864      April 10, 2019

A pre-election sales pitch

The federal pre-election sales pitch budget has failed to provide any plan to increase real wages or deliver secure jobs, says the Australian Services Union.

Scott Morrison and the Coalition government have used $4 billion in unspent NDIS money to prop-up a budget surplus and at the same time have given over $224 a week in tax cuts to people who earn over $200,000 a year.

There are no measures to address growing inequality and no assurances for the many vital community services that are already struggling to keep their doors open.

The government have proved once again that they are firmly on the side of big business, not working people, our families or communities.

Nothing for workers

The budget provides no concrete measures to lift wages in Australia. Wage growth is at an all-time low while the profits of big corporations, many of whom pay no tax, continue to rise at a staggering rate.

  • Nothing to address the gender pay gap, when the government even admits in its Budget that it is at least 15 percent.
  • Continuing to freeze superannuation at 9.5 percent and doing nothing to address the gender pay gap in retirement income – leaving many workers to retire in poverty. The Budget entrenches disadvantage for people living with family and domestic violence by encouraging them to use their superannuation to support themselves.

There is nothing to support secure permanent jobs. The government has done nothing to stop big business’ attempt to introduce cut-rate casuals in the community and disability sectors – attacking the permanent secure jobs and wages of hundreds of thousands of workers.

Growing inequality

Tax cuts that focus on the top end of town, and give more money to people who earn over $200,000 than anyone else (over $224 a week extra), while pensioners get a one off payment equivalent to $1 a week, and people on Newstart and Youth Allowance who are already living in poverty get nothing.

There are no measures to tackle housing affordability – nothing to support more social or affordable housing.

Uncertainty

Not a cent of extra money to support better training or wages in the NDIS, despite unspent NDIS money providing the government $4 billion in surplus. ASU members have been calling for a Portable Training Scheme. The government’s own NDIS Committee recommended our scheme that would cost just one cent in every NDIS dollar and provide a quality, trained workforce.

There is nothing to address the pending community mental health funding cliff. Essential community service programs like PHAMS (Personal Helpers and Mentors Service (PHaMs) Transitioning program are still set to end on June 30. This will be a huge impact on these programs and for the vulnerable members of the community.

The budget specifies that there will be NO money to support equal pay increases beyond 2020 and NO indexation on government grants to the community sector.

The only initiative to address domestic violence is to give millions to for-profit company Medibank Private to run 1800 RESPECT, after privatising the service in previous years. Allowing a corporation to increase their profit from rape.

Over 60 percent cut in funding for services to asylum seekers.

No funding for renewable energy or just transition for workers in the energy sector. Energy bills will continue to go up, and nothing is being done to address climate change.

No new money for local government.

Next article – In Solidarity – US refuses entry to Canadian journalist

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