Costello Is Frittering Away The Future Say Greens

The Australian Greens say the Budget “is more about greed than green”.

According to Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, “there is no recognition in this budget that the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment”.

This is the text of a media release from the Australian Greens.

“This budget is more about greed than green. The Treasurer has announced more than $30 billion dollars worth of tax cuts. Those earning over $150,000 per year to receive nearly $3,000 per year. Once again the big end of town does best and the pensioners get barely anything,” Greens Leader Bob Brown said tonight.

“The Treasurer begins his speech by saying that ‘Australia is different to the way it was 10 years ago’. Sadly he is right. Australia is now hotter, drier and with a lot more greenhouse gas emissions. We have more expensive houses and more household debt. Some things have of course stayed the same. Indigenous Australians still die 17 years earlier than the broader community, the poor struggle to get dental care, 1.2 million pensioners get a measly one-off $500.”

Senator Brown said the Greens’ budget leak on the environment was spot on.

“There is no recognition in this budget that the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. Overall the increase in funding for the environment this year is only $281 million.”

“Since coming to power the Howard Government has spent more than $2 trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money and tonight the Treasurer is crowing that more than $2 billion of that has been spent on climate change, but to what end? The Murray Darling system has collapsed. Two billion dollars is less than 0.1% of his total spending and around 1 per cent of what he has spent on defence.”

“The Treasurer has had time to commission two reports into the costs of ageing but he still has no idea what the costs of climate change will be. This year we have seen the devastating impact of drought on the Australian agriculture industry, but the budget papers assume that next year everything will be fine.”

“For the last 11 years there has been no mention of climate change in the budget, this year the budget papers refer to the ‘inevitable impact of past and future emissions on our climate’. While there is no mention of strategies to address climate change, we are now funding CSIRO to start planning where the cyclone and bushfire bunkers should be built.

“The reinstatement of the $8000 grant for solar roofs has only been allocated $30 million per year. At that rate it would take some 2000 years to convert all of Australia’s roofs into solar power stations.”

“But instead of announcing a plan for restructuring Australia’s economy, the Treasurer has announced $50 million for fridge magnets on how to reduce energy use and the development of a ‘free website’.

“The Greens support the extension of the Just Transition fund to assist farmers to adapt to a drying climate (and the lift in the threshold before GST applies to small businesses) but there is no plan to assist the loggers and coal miners prepare for new jobs in new industries.

“The Treasurer has announced an additional $35 million per year to encourage children to eat less junk food but continues to refuse to stop the junk food companies spending ten times as much persuading children to do the exact opposite,” Senator Brown said.

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