Cassy O’Connor MP – Greens Leader
After eight years of underfunding health, housing, education, skills, and corrections, the Liberals have delivered a Band-Aid Budget. They continue to play catch up on key social infrastructure.
Once again Peter Gutwein’s Budget has failed the key leadership test of addressing the climate emergency as we recover from COVID-19. Just as he failed to show up to the Greens’ climate emergency declaration debate, Peter Gutwein has failed with the State Budget.
Instead of ending native forest logging, the Gutwein Liberals continue to subsidise the climate destroying native forest industry – with $8M of public funds going to Forestry Tasmania, and millions supporting the industry through other initiatives.
In a time of climate crisis, the Liberals have cut funding to Water Resource Management, while total irrigation increases.
Once again, we see vast sums poured into roads, with not enough on public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Although a little is better than nothing at all.
There is nowhere near enough in this Budget for housing, and what’s being spent is happening too late. The need is now, and it is urgent. The Liberals helped create the housing crisis, and now they’re refusing to take the steps required to fix it.
Under the Liberals, many children in government ‘care’ have been failed. This Budget doesn’t go close to employing the number of child safety officers needed, instead propping up the sick Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
There are some real positives scattered through the State Budget - energy efficiency upgrades for low income households, funding for solar schools as well as an investment in school trauma specialists and speech pathologists, bringing medical cannabis in line with national standards, carbon farming grants, emergency food relief and stamp duty waiver on electric vehicles along with other Greens’ policies.
It seems our Alternative Budgets aren’t as kooky as the Liberals claim.
While the Premier has taken some small steps, we encourage him to read some more of our policies.
Unfortunately, however, this Budget puts pokies ahead of people, roads and bridges ahead of social infrastructure, and climate-destroying industries ahead of new ones that would deliver long-term, sustainable jobs.
The decision to give massive tax breaks to Federal Hotels instead of investing more in hospitals, schools, and climate action is a black mark against this Premier’s name that Tasmanians will not forget.
Rosalie Woodruff MP
As the first Liberal Minister for Climate Change, Peter Gutwein should be doing everything he can to keep carbon stores in the ground and protect natural systems. In a time of climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, there is no justification for native forest logging.
Once again, funding for threatened species protection is grossly insufficient. In a biodiversity crisis, we should be investing in monitoring the hundreds of threatened species and developing recovery plans - but instead the Liberals have decided they will no longer take responsibly for the loss of plants and animals.
After years of underfunding restorative justice while the prison population ballooned, the Liberals have finally put a paltry amount back into reducing reoffending. It’s a drop in the ocean to deal with the need their tough on crime policies have created.
The Liberals have yet again claimed they are spending big in health, but Tasmanians have heard that claim for the last seven years, and know it’s never been met with follow through. Once again, the Liberals have failed to invest in critical new hospital facilities in the North and South, such as the Hobart Repatriation Centre.
There’s an underinvestment paramedics and ambulances to the tune of $100M. We’re in the middle of a health crisis that’s putting lives at risk, and we will be forcing more people to wait in pain for treatment.
It’s extremely concerning to see the lack of dedicated funding for increased staffing of nurses and midwives. If the Liberals were serious about making the health system better, they would be ensuring our hospitals, health centres, and ambulance service are fully staffed.
This Budget should have supported all Tasmanians doing it tough. But instead the Liberals have continued to line the pockets of their big business mates and pay back election debts.
Peter Gutwein’s eighth Budget tries to deal with their past mistakes, but is nowhere near bold enough in a time of global heating and raging social inequality.
Today’s State Budget is not the strong direction lutruwita/Tasmania needs to ensure no-one is left behind. The Greens look forward to delivering our fully costed Alternative Budget next week.