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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Budget to hit northern rivers’ poor and sick hard

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Tony Abbott’s budget has been written with big business in mind and will further divide Australia between the haves and have-nots, especially for sick, young and vulnerable people.

The Coalition’s broken promises and attack on the young, the sick, pensioners and the vulnerable will severely impact people of the Northern Rivers. Instead of getting a fair share from big industry, miners and banks, they will be forcing our young people into homelessness and punishing the sick.

Tony Abbott’s rhetoric about sharing the burden is not true. Big business has been quarantined. There is no doubt that our young people, the sick and vulnerable take the biggest hit in this budget.

The northern rivers already has a higher than average percentage of disadvantaged and unemployed.  Homelessness is a major problem in our region yet this crisis will be made much worse because of cuts to the Rental Affordability Scheme of $235 million.

Unemployment will rise, as Australia wide, 16 500 public servants lose their jobs. This will impact services that support our most vulnerable in our region.

Jobs are scarce enough in the northern rivers, and young people needing unemployment benefits will now be forced to wait six months before they receive any support, after which they will have to work for the benefit for another six months before either getting a job, or getting cut off again for another six months.

The already stretched services of our local charities will be overwhelmed by those pushed below the poverty line and denied government support.

Our pensioners in the northern rivers will also suffer. Pensions are no longer indexed to wages and therefore the pension will gradually fall below what is required to keep pensioners above the ‘poverty line’. This will effect many of our older residents.

With support for our renewable energy industries removed we have lost thousands of regional jobs that flow from these.  With the revenue from the carbon price lost and no effective alternative strategy in place, our children will live with catastrophic climate impacts.

There is no plan for renewable energy jobs, just a grab for motorways and stranded fossil fuel assets that will be worthless to our economy within decades.

Big business will not share the burden of Tony Abbott’s brutal budget, with up to $80 billion of costed revenue opportunities from big business and the super-rich ignored, such as fixing the mining tax and keeping the price on pollution. Instead, the Abbott government’s budget will hit the vulnerable and ordinary people hard:

$20 billion axed from health or taken from the already sick

$1.7 billion taken from young people looking for work or study

$4.2 billion axed from higher education or taken from students

$1 billion taken from apprentices with loans, instead of support

$235 million axed from National Rental Affordability Scheme meaning 12,000 less homes

$230 million axed from ABC and SBS, with more to come

$75 million axed from the Australia Research Council

$111 million axed from CSIRO

$570 million axed from public service through efficiency dividends

16,500 public servants to lose their jobs

$560 million axed from indigenous programs through massive consolidation

$10 billion directed to roads infrastructure, instead of public transport, renewable energy and NBN.

Greens leader Christine Milne says serious challenges like global warming and inequality are ignored in favour of Tony Abbott’s fake budget emergency.

Dawn Walker, Tweed Greens


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  1. Thanks Dawn for the comprehensive list of “heavy-lifting” to be done by struggling welfare recipients,students and young people and elderly citizens. Your list also highlights the impact of Abbott Government’s ideological war on climate change, foreign aid, medicare, education, research & technological, and public media.

    Let’s hope the Senate is able to block the worse and modify the rest so we can avert the inevitable disaster the Neo-cons will inflict on the most disadvantaged members of our community – and on the most important innovative new industries being developed.

    It’s no surprise to see the budget impacts least on those cashed up elites who managed to contribution hefty donations to the Liberal party.

    Politicians & our leaders of industry and commerce demonstrate a pathological lack of empathy and compassion for anyone outside their immediate postcode. Those “christian” values are so easily eroded and undermined by the vested-interest of a very small cabal.

    If you want a decent future for your family, I suggest you give Joe Hockey some feedback on his retrograde, “mean & cruel” budget proposals.


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