This year’s deferral budget betrays the battlers and gives to the rich

By Joe Montero as President of Fair Go For Pensioners Victoria

This week’s federal budget has seen the propagandists go all out to paint it as good for those doing it tough. Nothing could be further from the truth. This budget delivers nearly no cost-of-living relief. There is a supposed to be a handout for housing health and energy. And there is the tax cut. But the detail tells how miserable this is when stacked up against the need.
Working men and women have been betrayed. At the Same time as they handed politicians and the super wealthy a $4,500 tax cut each. The Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich and very well off will now go ahead. Average wage earners and those depending on Centrelink payments will miss out.

Any provision for affordable housing is welcome. But what has been provided is for a government with an eye on an election and making it appear that something is being done. The $6.2 billion allocation for housing sound impressive. Unfortunately, this is not enough to make a dent on the reality of the housing affordability crisis that today’s reality. Nor is it enough to reverse the decline of public housing across the country. Furthermore, the bulk of it is earmarked is for the pockets of developers. Little of this will pass on to those in housing cost stress. Nothing is to help those at risk of default on their mortgage payments.

Image from Nine: Treasurer Jim Chalerm’s presented the budget on Tuesday night

Big time property investors will take the lion’s share of new tax concessions worth $175.4 billion. First home buyers and renters get nothing. There is no control over soaring rents. No move towards ending negative gearing and capital gains tax feeding rising property prices.

Taking on the causes of the property price bubble is replaced by the mantra of a market led recovery when it’s the market’s failure that is at fault. The problem is not supply. It’s the lack of available housing at a cost that most of Australia can afford.

Take health. A miserly $888.1 million over eight years amounts to a real cut to a health system that has been bleeding for years. The new energy relief grant of $300 doe little to counter souring energy prices. They will continue to spiral upwards without measures to stop it, and there are none of these.

Other than some much needed relief for the TAFE system, the boost to education turns out to be mainly more money for the private schools. The public school system is left out.
The budget contains no action to put a top to price gouging as the major supermarkets, for example, have been found to be practising.

There has been a lot of hype over the Future Made in Australia project, which is supposed to rebuild a manufacturing industry. This proves to be no more than a 22.7 billion injection over the next decade. Not enough to resurrect Australia’s manufacturing base. This won’t happen without a serious plan that sets priorities and builds linkages through the economy. Future Made in Australia won’t materialise without this and more ambitious investment.

A strong manufacturing base depends on making those things require by household s and individuals in everyday life. The main tilt is towards manufacturing bits for the United Sates military machine. The is part of the $764 billion boost to military related spending over the next 10 years.

Among the big winners is the gas industry. It gets more handouts out of taxpayers’ money. Up to $50 billion. Reducing Australia’s carbon emissions and progressing towards net zero has been forgotten, despite resurrecting manufacturing and improving the economy depending on this.

Besides subsidies for the richest and more for financing militarisation to join the United States war efforts, this is a budget said to be about ensuring a surplus and reigning in inflation. In this context, the surplus means that there is a net cut in spending for what isn’t made up from new revenues coming into the government. Either the normal wage earner gets to pay more tax, there is a cut on government expenditure across many services, or a combination of both. Reigning in inflation means the government spending less

We haven’t been told where these cuts will take place. We can be sure there will be more loss of public sector jobs. There will be more charge for users of services, the quality of which stand to be [runed back even more.

The Albanese government undermines itself by continuing to embrace the church of neoliberalism, which should have been ditched a long time ago. Australia needs a vision of where we should go. A vision for a fairer and better society. This isn’t too much to ask for.

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