The Tasmanian Greens today released our fully-costed, future-focussed Alternative Budget. It reflects and responds to the imperatives of the times we live in.
Our Budget recommits to working constructively with Tasmanian Aboriginal people to deliver the truth telling and Treaty – so necessary for us to move forward as a community. We also want to work cooperatively to ensure Aboriginal Tasmanians are represented in Tasmania’s Parliament, as they should be.
So much has changed since we handed down our Alternative Budget late last year.
While the planet isn’t getting any cooler, the political temperature has changed for the better. Climate is now front and centre in the national debate, and not before time. With this comes new opportunities for our island.
We would ensure the carbon wealth banked in our forests stays safe by establishing the Tasmanian Carbon Bank. It would not only protect our forests but to ensure those not currently within a reserve are valued beyond woodchips that are shipped to China, but generate revenue in evolving carbon markets.
The Greens’ Alternative Budget invests in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, emissions abatement, and adaptation planning in the face of a rapidly heating atmosphere. We invest $20 million over four years for community resilience hubs in every municipality to help Tasmanians withstand the inevitable climate shocks barreling towards this island.
Our Alternative Budget heeds the independent Covid health experts. It reinstates indoor mask protections, and invests in local Long Covid research as well as ventilation assistance for small to medium businesses and community organisations to make sure the air the people breathe, is safe.
We reprioritise a portion of the Liberals’ bloated roads budget towards essential social infrastructure; more affordable, energy efficient homes for Tasmanians.
More Tasmanians are being cast out in to the cold as the housing crisis deepens. We provide $850 million for the secure, affordable homes so many Tasmanians desperately need, and will also help tenants living in fear of rent increases and eviction by again moving to rein in short-stay accommodation and soaring rents.
Even in a few short weeks of evidence, the Commission of Inquiry has laid bare the structural and cultural weaknesses that have caused lifelong harm to children.
We commit to funding to full implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission in to Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, with funding allocated to accelerate the delivery of Child Safe Organisations framework and Reportable Conduct Scheme.
We also invest $97 million into more school social workers and psychologists, $41 million in to quality guarantee in education, and critically, we reprioritize funding to allocate $120 million towards more child safety officers.
When Tasmanians call for an ambulance, they need to know it will be there for them. We understand the urgency of the need to recruit more paramedics and ambulance staff, and fund an extra 224 full time staff into Ambulance Tasmania.
Instead of slashing funding to environmental management as the Treasurer Ferguson’s first budget does, we increase it. We establish a standalone Environment Protection Authority to protect this island’s natural environment and competitive advantage, not bend over backwards to enable corporate profits as it has for too long.
We allocate $11 million to ecosystem restoration grants for community organisations such as Landcare and Coastcare, and reverse the Liberals’ shameful cuts to the Threatened Species Unit, with $8.4 million to stop the march of rare and endangered species towards extinction.
Anglers, farmers, oyster growers, scientists and recreational users of Tasmania’s beautiful rivers are extremely worried about water management under the Liberals. Our Alternative Budget ends the unscientific free for all, funding integrated catchment management, the roll out of water meters, and allocating $4million towards the science of river health.
The Greens will always be the strongest, clearest voices in this place for the voiceless. We fund a ban on greyhound racing and battery hen farming, phase out of all factory farming and establish animal welfare standards and compliance by reforming the Animal Welfare Act.
To fund our Budget priorities, we unashamedly take the axe to a number of the Liberals’ spending priorities. We cut funding to the Office of the Coordinator General and end the public subsidy to the cruel racing industry.
Critically, we end the free ride given to big mining, fish farming, logging and developers, who pay the lowest royalty and license fees in Australia. Our Alternative Budget raises mining royalties by 150% to bring them in to line with the rest of the country.
Our Alternative Budget cracks down on developers seeking to cash in on the housing crisis by introducing a 75% betterment tax on any increase in the value of land that results from a rezoning decision by planning bodies.
As always, our Alternative Budget is brimming with good policies and ideas that in time will become mainstream – and are often adopted by governments of both colours.
Every measure in our Alternative Budget is sensible and possible. We encourage our major party colleagues to get on board.
Our full Alternate Budget can be found here: https://tasmps.greens.org.au/policy/alternative-budget-2022-23