The Guardian May 21, 2003

User-pays budget

What the budget means for working people:

* Medicare co-payments of $20 per GP visit and eventual destruction of Medicare

* Up to 30% increase in already unaffordable higher education fees

* Shortage of 30,000 child care places

* Cost of essential medicines under the PBS to rise 30%

* Public dental services waiting lists of three years

* Public hospital waiting lists of 12-18 months

* 20,000 people on public housing waiting lists

* 365,000 people from working households living in poverty

* Growing unemployment, under-employment and casualisation

* Paid maternity leave deemed "unaffordable"

* $1.63 tax cuts for those on incomes of $20,000 per year or less

* $6.30-$4.00 tax cut for those on incomes of $20,000-50,000

* Continuing cuts to welfare and harassment of welfare recipients

* More money transferred from public to private schools

* Tens of millions of dollars in handouts and tax cuts to the big corporations

Steps towards more far-reaching changes:

* Destruction of Medicare and Americanisation of the health system

* Transfer of funding from public to private schools

* Higher education becoming a privilege not a right

* Shrinking social security safety net

* Strengthening of state machinery for repression of dissent and struggle

* Involvement in future US wars as an unquestioning deputy sherrif

* Promotion of the individual  survival of the richest and most corrupt

* Transfer of everything possible from public sector to private profiteers

* Growing insecurity as social spending transferred to "War against terrorism" and military spending

* Further loss of trade union rights and job security

* No job creation or reduction in high rate of unemployment

* Environmental destruction, ongoing land clearing, and failure to address salinity

For more budget analysis, see Federal Budget 2003-2004

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