I thought I’d get in touch to let you know a bit more about this week’s Federal Budget.
As with last year’s Budget, this is not a plan for our future. This is in contrast to Bill Shorten’s vision outlined last night which will see Labor place greater emphasis on the jobs of the future by investing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Long term investment in infrastructure, education and jobs is largely missing and many of the worst elements of last year’s Budget remain:
$80 billion cut from hospitals and schools;
$100,000 university degrees remain in place; and
Cuts to family payments.
Despite these unfair cuts, Joe Hockey has still managed to double his own Government’s deficit in a year.
There are more cuts to health in this year’s Budget, including confirming the Government is committed to a four year freeze on Medicare rebates, which will rip $1.3 billion out of general practice over the next four years. There are also cuts of $125.6 million from the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and $252.2 million cut from PBS listed drugs. These measures will have a detrimental impact on both young and older people across our community.
By the Abbott Government’s own admission, unemployment will be higher and stay higher as a result of this Budget. Despite the Government’s rhetoric, the Budget forecasts unemployment to reach 6.5 per cent - the highest unemployment rate in more than 14 years. The cuts to proven local employment programs, such as Partnership Brokers and Youth Connections, have not been remedied.
There are a range of child care measures in the Budget and we still working through them, but we do know that they are funded by cuts to family payments and new cuts to Paid Parental Leave impacting 80,000 women. The proposed child care changes do not start until 2017, leaving parents with no extra assistance to help with the rising cost of child care. We also can’t ignore the fact that the child care changes will cut access for lower-income families and force some families out of child care entirely. Meanwhile, Tony Abbott has kept his cuts to family payments, leaving some families on low to middle incomes up to $6,000 a year worse off.
Greenway is one of the youngest electorates in Australia with one of the highest take-up rates of Paid Parental Leave and family assistance. The impact on local residents will be enormous.
Tony Abbott has walked away from his plans to cut pensions by cutting the rate of indexation but he is still imposing harsh measures on Australia’s 4 million pensioners - in addition to changes to the assets test, he still wants seniors to work until they are 70, giving Australia the oldest retirement age in the developed world. In addition to changes to the assets test, Tony Abbott is also sticking by his $1.3 billion cuts to pensioner and seniors’ concessions. All this despite promising before the election, “no changes to pensions.”
Small business, hit last year with over $5 billion in cuts and tax increases, has received much needed attention, particularly given the low levels of business confidence. The Government has re-introduced Labor’s ongoing instant tax write-off which they abolished last year with a new scheme which has a higher threshold of $20,000 but cuts out completely after just two years.
Labor believes the Parliament should work together to lower the tax burden on small business to generate local jobs and that is what I will fight for.
Next week I am keen to get your views – you can do so in person at the below locations or get in touch via email at Michelle.Rowland.MP@aph.gov.au or on social media at www.facebook.com/mrowlandmp. You don’t need to make an appointment – just turn up.
Seven Hills coffee catch-up – Thursday, 21 May, 10am-11am– Michel’s Patisserie, Seven Hills Plaza
Stanhope Gardens coffee catch-up – Thursday, 21 May, 11.30am-12.30am – Gloria Jeans, Stanhope Shopping Village
After hours open office – Friday, 22 May, 5pm-7pm – 230 Prospect Highway, Seven Hills
Hope to see you there.