Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader
The 2020-21 State Budget is widely agreed to be the most important since the Second World War. This Budget, however, is a missed opportunity for a real reset to tackle the twin challenges of COVID and climate.
Once again, the millions are poured into roads, with nothing for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. There is nowhere near enough in this Budget for housing.
What new Premier, Peter Gutwein, announced today fell short of what is needed to set a strong direction for lutruwita/Tasmania’s future, and to ensure no-one is left behind.
There are some positive things scattered through the State Budget, most of which the Greens have been pushing for years - electric vehicle rollout, energy efficiency in public housing, a waste levy and container deposit scheme.
They join the long list of Greens policies adopted by the Liberals in government - trauma informed care training in schools, funding redress, a Climate Change ministry, electric vehicle charging stations, and new Child and Family centres. It seems our Alternative Budgets aren’t as kooky as Premier Gutwein pretends.
The 2020-21 State Budget desperately wants – and pretends there will be – a return to business as usual within six months.
The Budget projects revenue sources more-or-less stabilising within 6 months, and their economic strategy continues to be subsidies to industrial friends and electoral pork barrelling. There is an unsurprising, heavy, funding focus in the Northern electorates.
Years of underfunding and a failure to invest in preventative health, housing and restorative justice instead of tough-on-crime policies have resulted in cost pressures that the Government increasingly can’t keep up with.
Rosalie Woodruff MP | Member for Franklin
This year’s Budget includes desperate efforts to fund massive service shortfalls in health, housing, and justice. It is the penultimate stage of a leaky dike.
While Peter Gutwein has managed the coronavirus health crisis well, it’s already clear he has gone back to the Liberal status quo in his response to the economic crisis. He’s putting pokies ahead of people, roads and bridges ahead of social infrastructure, and dying industries ahead of new ones that would deliver long-term, sustainable jobs.
This Budget should have been designed to support everyday Tasmanians who are doing it tough, and to forge a better future. But instead the Liberals are more worried about lining the pockets of their big business mates.
In this time of crisis, the Budget should meet the challenges we face head on. Unfortunately what Peter Gutwein has handed down today fails to do this.
The Greens look forward to delivering our vision for lutruwita/Tasmania through a fully costed Alternative Budget, to be released next week