Predictable State Budget shows skewed priorities
by Greens' MLC Mark Parnell
September 4th, 2018 7:00 pm
The first Liberal State Budget in 16 years is a predictable piece of work that takes the axe to public servants, ignores the environment, cuts services to those who most need them and keeps the big end of town happy. There’ll be plenty of ribbons for Ministers to cut but the harshest cuts are reserved for programs that help reduce climate change, help reduce crime and help low income families to make ends meet. Thousands of public servants are facing forced redundancies.
It will take time to fully digest thousands of budget pages, but here are three portfolio areas for starters.
Climate Change & Energy
They might not gleefully pass lumps of coal around in Parliament like their Federal colleagues, but the State Liberals still don’t get climate change. We need measures to reduce our impact on the climate, not just react to the problem. That means more investment in renewable energy, storage and energy efficiency. Funding can come from reducing taxpayer subsidies such as fossil fuel rebates and handouts to big mining companies, especially oil and gas. Extending the renewable energy revolution to low income households and protecting the most vulnerable through a not-for-profit public energy retailer are simple measures that would make a big difference to the cost of living.
The Government has confused conservation and recreation. Allowing people to paddle a canoe on one of Adelaide’s drinking water reservoirs does nothing to stop species going extinct. Investment in the environment as a percentage of the State Budget continues to decline year after year. Polluting projects such as underground coal gasification are bad for the environment and public health, but continue to be supported by the Government.
Given that road traffic always expands to fill the available space, nothing in this budget addresses the problem of providing genuine alternatives to private cars to reduce congestion in the metropolitan area. Adelaide is set to remain the most car-dominated city in Australia. Contrast with Melbourne which is to spend $50 Billion on new rail lines.
Authorised by M. Parnell, Parliament House Adelaide.