Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens’ Leader
Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Member for Franklin
Cassy O’Connor MP:
Tasmanians have been presented with an uninspiring pork barrel budget from a government that was bought and bribed its way into office, and is now selling off the farm.
It’s propped up by the sale of public plantation assets and the Liberals want to fatten it in future years with the unjustified, unmandated sale of the Treasury Building.
There’s a long overdue investment in child protection after funding went backwards in the past term under the Liberals, but it’s well short of what’s needed. We also recognize the allocation for the National Redress Scheme for survivors of past sexual abuse.
After four years of chronic underinvestment in increasing the supply of affordable housing which contributed to the housing crisis, there is extra money in to housing. It is difficult to comprehend, then, why staffing to Housing Tasmania would be cut across the forward estimates.
Meanwhile, the Budget flags the further privatization of public housing assets after the handover of Titles to 500 Housing Tasmania properties by the Liberals in the past term.
While Liberal cronies, like the Tasmanian Hospitality Association, are handsomely rewarded for their election efforts, Tasmanians in need get very little out of this State Budget.
The THA’s $4.8 million election payback is locked-in, while the allegedly non-political Budget papers claim ‘a strong rental demand’ and ‘buoyant housing market’ is tone deaf to the housing distress and homelessness too many Tasmanians are now facing.
The Liberals’ starved funding for housing supply in their first term and are now promising a housing build, but it won’t be complete for 18 months. This Winter and another cold Winter will have bitten those sleeping in tents at the Domain and the Showgrounds.
The Budget is propped up by a $15 million special dividend from the sale of public plantation assets and counts on the sale of our iconic, historic Treasury Building. This will be a shock for many Tasmanians, and is a policy the Liberals did not take to the election and have no mandate for.
Instead of leasing the Treasury Building, or investigating a public purpose, the Liberals are selling the farm. They have no mandate to sell the Treasury Building, and they haven’t even asked the ultimate owners of the heritage listed treasure, the people of Tasmania.
This Budget confirms the Liberals know the price of everything and the value of nothing. They plan to exploit the wilderness for private profit at Cradle Mountain, and – would appear - on the pristine South Coast track, and pour more around $85 million into industrial tourism projects at Cradle and in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Rosalie Woodruff MP:
With the stark, global reality of climate change, and news now of rapidly melting ice sheets, the Liberals announced a cut of 32% to the Tasmanian Climate Office and its work.
Of all Budgets, this should be the one that invests in mitigation, adaptation and carbon emissions reduction. Instead of preparing Tasmanians, this cut confirms the climate denalism that runs through the Liberals in government.
The Liberals’ $1.8 million cut to Legal Aid funding will put increased pressure on our legal system, and leave more and more Tasmanians who go before the courts unrepresented. It leaves people in need, like those fighting to see their children or tackling family violence - and ultimately justice itself - last.
This cut to Legal Aid is on top of a $900,000 cut to the Supreme Court over the next two years. Under the Liberals, the courts are over capacity and bursting at the seams, and these cuts will make matters worse.
In no circumstance is this State Budget an investment in Justice. It is one that lets down Tasmanians when they are most in need, and sees them suffer the consequences in the courts, without assistance.