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Federal Budget 2016: Premier Says Eslake, TasCOSS, Anglicare Are Wrong

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tags: Treasury, Economy, Education, Social and Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Aged Care, Mental Health, Young People, Federal Budget, Community Legal Centres


Economist Saul Eslake agrees that Tuesday's budget contains little for Tasmania, and the Tasmanian Council of Social Services and Anglicare have given the federal budget a big thumbs down.  Among the many flaws, they have highlighted cuts to education, no money for affordable housing, no funding security for homelessness services, cuts to aged care, the removal of energy concessions for welfare recipients, cuts to community legal centres and youth mental health services, dishonouring payments to carers - the list goes on.  Do you agree with Anglicare's analysis that this federal budget failed the equity test and in doing so failed Tasmania?



Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question.  I acknowledge that, whilst there are some in the community who will invariably be not as happy about budgets as others, I want members in this place to at least stick to some facts.  There are assertions made in that question about cuts to funding which simply are not true.

Ms O'Connor - Which ones are not true?

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Mr HODGMAN - There has not been a cut to education funding.  I think $1.2 billion more is going into education.  Affordable housing was also mentioned the member for Denison.

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member will allow the Premier to address the question.

Mr HODGMAN - I want to explain to the member who asked the question and anyone else who may not be sure about how funding for affordable housing is allocated.  It is done on a per capita allocation.  That happens now and happened under former Labor-Green governments.  Claims that Tasmania is not getting its fair share of affordable housing money are rubbish because the National Affordable Housing Agreement special purpose payment is calculated on Tasmania's proportion of the overall Australia population, not on anything else.  This is an arrangement that existed under former governments and it exists now.  I am surprised that a former minister would not understand the funding arrangements for affordable housing.

We recognise that some in the community may not be as happy with the budget as others.  The budget is very strong when it comes to a plan for economic growth and jobs.  The small business sector of Tasmania and those who work within it, and those who are looking for a job, including young Tasmanians, see the benefit of a plan for the state's economic growth and jobs.  This plan is not dissimilar to the one we have because it is all about jobs - our number one priority.  We have seen already today where the Opposition's priorities lie.  Ours are for Tasmanian jobs and economic growth. 

The Tasmanian people are also aware that we need a budget under control in order to better invest in essential services, as we are now doing.  I point again to record levels of spending in health and education under my Government in Tasmania.  I also point to areas where we have had to fill cuts in health made by Labor and the Greens.  I also point to our track record when it comes to managing a budget.

The other critical element of a budget is how you are managing your finances.  That is what budgets are all about.  Members opposite would spend money that we do not have.  They would spend GST receipts we make, not realising there will a downturn, as invariably happens.  They will also make fictitious funding claims that they never fund into the future.

The results of all this were record deficits left to us by the former Labor-Greens government.  Record deficits were left to the federal Coalition by a Labor-Greens federal government.  Liberal parties are doing what they do - getting a budget back on track, bringing it into surplus twice as fast as we had anticipated so we can invest in essential services.