The Australian Greens have attacked the Howard government’s latest Budget, saying it lacks humanity and robs the environment.
The Greens says tax cuts of $4 a week “go no way to compensate for the growing cost hurdles” faced by Australians.
Text of media statement from the Australian Greens.
Tax cuts no compensation for the barriers to higher education and Medicare – Brown
This Costello budget deepens the divide between rich and poor in Australia while attempting to mask the damage with tax cuts, Greens Senator Bob Brown said tonight. At home and away this budget is bereft of humanity and environmental responsibility.
Tax cuts amounting to $4 week for someone on $45,000 go no way to compensate for the growing cost hurdles for Australians wanting access to higher education and health systems, or a better national environment.
The overseas aid allocation is $5 billion less than the United Nation’s recommended allocation by Australia to the world’s poor through overseas aid. Mr Costello has failed to even maintain aid at real levels, giving an additional $79 million when $103 million was required, while offering $300 million in tax breaks on overseas profits to the multi-national corporations.
The squeeze on the ABC continues with nothing new allocated for the national broadcaster. Programs will have to go.
The $800 million dollars the treasurer intends to slug students via a new full-fees scheme will be opposed by the Greens in the Senate.
The environment is again a Costello casualty with Greenhouse funding alone under-spent by 15% or $18 million in 2002/3. Overall Greenhouse spending is less than half promised over the five years since 1997 while Australia is the world’s worst per capita polluter.
The Government’s own much promoted National Action Plan for Salinity gets only $62 million and is under-spent by almost 40% this year. This compares with the Prime Minister’s own scientific advice that $6 billion is needed annually to repair such items as salinity.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister has taken 30 jobs out of Greenhouse and National Parks and put them into his own office. Environment and Heritage loses 73 positions. The Department of PM&C gains 55 positions.