The slashing of funding for universities and renewable energy are two of the big disappointments of the federal Budget, says Richmond Greens candidate Dawn Walker.
Ms Walker believes the government’s failure to push through the mining super profit tax has cost the environment and education dearly.
‘These short-sighted cuts could have been avoided if the government had stood up to the big mining companies by abolishing fossil fuel subsidies and closed the mining tax loopholes,’ she said.
‘This year the mining tax collected only $200 million, a serious shortfall from the promised $3 billion.
‘The small increase in research funding does not make up for the $2.3 billion cut to universities this year on top of the $1 billion hit to universities and research over the past year.
‘Labor has also made deep cuts of $685 million to renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, reneging on its commitment to the Greens [which] comes on top of $257 million in cuts to the Biodiversity Fund, further evidence that Labor cannot be trusted on the environment and climate change.’
Ms Walker added that the $19 per week boost to the Newstart allowance, which now covers single parents as well, would entrench poverty and encourage a less fair society.
‘It’s an insult to those who are struggling to make ends meet,’ she said.
‘The government has failed to increase Newstart payments by the $50 a week that business and the community sector agreed was essential to prevent them falling deeper into poverty.’
Meanwhile, Page MP Janelle Saffin told the ABC this morning that a tight budget was to be expected.
‘The benefits in this budget are DisabilityCare Australia, which benefit my seat of Page, the thousands of people who require disability care, and also the Gonski National School Improvement Plan; both of those are funded in this budget,’ she said.
The Greens did commend the government’s $129 million funding boost to the ABC, $30 million for SBS and $5.4 million for community radio, and also the $1.1 billion saved by removing support for so-called ‘clean-coal’ technologies and another $1.1 billion saved by better targeting the deduction for exploration activities.
Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said it was worrying the budget lacked a ‘values base’, which she believed opposition leader Tony Abbott would embrace as ‘work done on his behalf’.
‘If Labor is prepared to sell out on universities, students, single parents, the unemployed, and pretend the climate crisis is now a sub-set of the environment department, what would it do in opposition without the Greens’ strong voice in the Senate to stand up against the excesses of Tony Abbott,’ Senator Milne said.