The Morrison Government claims to have balanced the Budget, but look beyond the spin at the facts and figures, and look at their six-year record of cuts and chaos.
The touted surplus is only a forecast; a fragile promise based on an under-spend of $1.6 billion on the NDIS, and forecast wages growth of 3.5%, which is fantasy-land.
Consumption, GDP and wages growth are all down. Home ownership and savings are down. But Government debt has doubled.
Infrastructure spending is down, from 0.4% of GDP to 0.2%. In the Hunter, after six years of Labor advocacy there is funding for the M1 extension at Raymond Terrace, but nothing for the Glendale Transport Interchange or the Singleton bypass.
The Budget does include tax cuts, and that is good news. The Coalition have copied Labor’s tax cuts for people earning $40,000 to $120,000 a year, but ignored the 2 million workers who earn less.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claimed taxes will always be lower under the Coalition than Labor, but his own Budget Papers show taxes are now higher as a share of the economy than during any year of the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government.
The Budget cuts more jobs from Centrelink and from the Tax Office, and the arbitrary staffing cap on the NDIS remains, making it harder for people to get help.
The Coalition has done nothing to reverse previous cuts; more than $2 billion from hospitals, $14 billion from schools.
They have put $55 million into apprenticeships, but that doesn’t make up for the $3 billion cut from TAFE and apprentices in previous budgets. We’ve seen 150,000 apprentices lost on this Government’s watch.
They have finally agreed to another year of preschool funding for 4-year-olds but, unlike Labor, will not extend that to 3-year-olds nor guarantee the funding for more than a year.
This failure to invest in human capital – preschools, schools, universities and TAFE – sets the Liberals apart.
Labor will get wages going again through cracking down on the misuse of labour hire. We’ll bring in a living wage for the lowest paid and restore penalty rates. We’ll have an energy and climate policy that reduces power prices as well as carbon emissions.
The Morrison Government Budget is not a plan for a better or fairer Australia; it is a plan for an election campaign.
Look beyond the spin at the cuts and chaos.