Labor’s budget surplus betrays renters, mortgage holders and students while keeping a future for coal and gas

Australian Greens

The Australian Greens say that Labor’s third budget betrays those doing it tough by prioritising a surplus ahead of helping people. It will fuel growing disappointment by letting corporations price gouge, while offering only band-aid and false solutions for the cost-of-living crisis.

Jim Chalmers’ decision to focus on a surplus in a cost-of-living crisis will harm people. The government’s $9.3 billion surplus could fund a rent freeze, put mental health into Medicare, or give every Australian in poverty over $3000 in cost-of-living support – instead, a surplus is just a political talking point for Labor’s re-election campaign.

The centrepiece of this government’s ‘cost of living support’ is their rebadged Stage 3 tax cuts for the wealthy including politicians and billionaires – which give around five times more to someone on $200k than someone on the national minimum wage of around $46,000.

A renter only gets an extra dollar a day in rent assistance, while this budget gives the country’s property investors $1290 every second – every cent denying renters the chance to buy their first home. This represents $175.4bn across the forward estimates, compared to a claimed new $6.2 bn for housing by the government.

The big-ticket items are bad for the country. Across the forward estimates, there is almost $50bn in coal, oil and gas subsidies. Australia is approaching $1 trillion in spending for defence across the decade, and for the first time, the forward estimates reveal the first $12 billion of the $342 billion for the nuclear submarines, most of which goes to the UK and the Americans.

Meanwhile, the government is too cowardly to address the real cause of inflation: corporate profits and sky rocketing rents and takes no action on price gouging in supermarkets. Despite minor changes to indexation, student debt will continue to surge while tax revenue from the gas tax is written down in this Budget.

The Treasurer’s speech doesn’t mention coal and gas, and only name checks the climate once, but this budget retains billions in fossil fuel subsidies including $1.5 billion for the Middle Arm Gas Precinct. What Labor is trying to hide is that A Future Made In Australia is actually A Future For Coal and Gas Past 2050.

There’s no increase to the rate of JobSeeker, no money for progressing Treaty, and they’re spending more on a quantum computer than they give to women fleeing violence, and no additional funding for women’s safety frontline services.

As stated by Adam Bandt MP, Leader of the Australian Greens:

“This band-aid budget is a betrayal of renters, women, students and mortgage holders. Labor’s offering a future for coal and gas that will wreck the climate, unleash corporate greed, and throw ordinary people to the wolves,” Mr Bandt said.

“In a cost-of-living crisis, a surplus isn’t an achievement. Labor’s surplus won’t put food on the table or pay bills for a struggling family.

“Labor’s budget surplus is your cost-of-living pain, your gap fee at the doctor, and your ten year wait for a public home.

“An extra $1.30 a day for a quarter of renters will do nothing when average rents are set to go up by $46 a week. Labor’s budget allows unlimited rent rises and refuses to put in place a rent freeze.

“In the worst housing and rental crisis in generations, there’s no funding for a rent freeze and no big public housing build, but there’s $174.5b in tax handouts for the wealthy and property investors.

“Labor’s giving a $4,500 handout to politicians while everyone else gets unlimited rent rises and soaring supermarket bills.

“Across the country, people are disappointed with Labor and this band-aid budget shows why. Labor offers band-aid solutions that leave millions struggling, while corporations get big handouts and their profits soar.”

As stated by Senator Nick McKim, Greens Treasury spokesperson:

“This is a surplus built on people’s suffering ,” Senator McKim said.

“Labor talks a big game on climate change and cost of living but this budget abjectly fails to address those challenges at the scale and urgency that is needed.”

Labor needs to watch out – because disillusionment and disappointment quickly turns into anger.”

“People have every right to be angry about a budget that finds $764 billion for defence but can’t find a cent to raise the rate of JobSeeker or Youth Allowance. The government’s banking a surplus while young people and pensioners take out loans to pay the bills.

“Labor is tightening your belt and letting corporate greed run wild. The government is trying to find $14 billion in cuts to the NDIS and reducing supports for asylum seekers, while letting the supermarkets get away with price gouging.

“There’s money for the bad guys, and band aid solutions for you. Labor’s spending almost $50bn in coal, oil and gas subsidies, and forking over a $12 billion downpayment on nuclear submarines that only make the country less safe,”” if they arrive at all.

“Labor’s budget gives three times more to politicians on $200k than someone on minimum wage. This is a cruel budget that leaves people behind. Jim Chalmer’s decision to focus on a political surplus in a cost-of-living crisis will harm people.”

As stated by Senator Barbara Pocock, Greens Economics spokesperson:

“Ordinary people are paying the price for the government’s inflation response, while the real culprits making big profits are getting away with it.,” Senator Pocock said.

“It’s corporate profits that are fuelling inflation, but Jim Chalmers is refusing to tax them fairly. Instead, Labor’s inflation plan is to pull up the drawbridge on everyone who needs help, letting corporate bandits rob them blind.

“Since Labor’s first budget, there’s been a $4.5 billion write down on gas tax collected through the PRRT. Student debts continue to soar while massive gas companies pay less.

“Labor isn’t providing an extra cent for Treaty, but they’re spending millions to burn through cultural heritage applications that will fast-track gas projects and silence First Nations voices.

“There’s more new money for a quantum computer than there is for women fleeing violence, and no new money for frontline services to prevent domestic violence.

“There is so much that Labor could have done to make sure that this budget was kind to people who need it most, while still economically responsible. Instead, they are too cowardly to confront wealthy property investors, big corporations, or the coal and gas cartel, so people miss out once more.

/Public Release. View in full here.