The first Hodgman Liberal state budget targets the public sector and the public purse, while failing to deliver any plan for the necessary long-term structural reform of the state’s finances, Greens Leader and Treasury spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“Tasmanians waited three months for this? The Liberals’ dismal first effort confirms fears that the state’s public sector workers will be paying for the Liberals’ spend-up big election promises,” Mr Booth said.
“The budget finally confirms that more public servants’ jobs are in the firing line than the 500 targeted by the Liberals at the election, with at least 700 full time equivalent positions to be cut.”
“Stakeholders are estimating that cuts to government agencies will total $489 million over the next four years. This raises serious concerns about how these public sector cuts will impact upon the delivery of community services.”
“This budget takes the state backwards, and undercuts the fiscal progress of the previous government.”
The Greens’ cited the following key areas of concern in their initial response to the Budget:
- The public sector will be paying for the majority of the Liberals election promises with the combined ‘savings’ from 700 job cuts and wage freeze totalling $374.3 million; (Budget Paper No. 1; pg 4.4)
- Broken promises: 700 FTE public sector jobs instead of 500; and backflips on promise to return budget to surplus in three years, now extending that to six years;
- Fails to deliver a long term vision to deal with necessary structural reform, including issues such as unfunded super;
- Ongoing public subsidisation of Forestry Tasmania entrenched, with $16 million over four years to Forestry Tasmania for non-commercial operations - back-flipping on the no public subsidies promise; (Budget Paper No. 1; pg 5.15)
- Funding to investigate forest residues options, including biomass, which could be used to prop up an unviable logging and woodchipping regime;
- No new funding for the environment or climate change initiatives, but cuts to land management and conservation funding;
- Cuts to biosecurity investment; and
- No new funding to fill the gap left by the Abbott government for kinder in our vital early years education sector.
“The state is fiscally worse off under this Liberal lead balloon of a budget. It fails to deliver any vision, fails to deliver a long-term plan, and fails to deliver on meaningful job-creation,” Mr Booth said.
The Greens will provide further state budget analysis in upcoming days, as well as deliver their Alternative Budget next week.