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Swan's surplus risks putting Australians’ future wellbeing in the red

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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Acting Leader

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562

media release

Thursday 29 March 2012

Swan’s surplus risks putting Australians’ future wellbeing in the red

Wayne Swan should not be aiming to meet what is clearly a political surplus target by cutting services and programmes in innovation at a time when we desperately need to be supporting people and investing in a cleaner, smarter and healthier future, the Australian Greens said today.

“It does not make sense to get one credit card in the black if you are maxing out several others in education, social wellbeing and the environment,” Australian Greens Acting Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“The Greens have proposed huge savings by cutting the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel handouts and ensuring that company tax cuts go to the small businesses who really need them, as well as a significant revenue boost through a real mining super profits tax.

“Those fiscally responsible Greens measures would give the government the resources it needs to set up Denticare and a National Disability Insurance Scheme, invest properly in our schools and roll out renewable energy infrastructure.

“Meeting a political surplus target is a phyrric victory if it is at the expense of building a stronger, fairer economy that gives Australians a better quality of life now and sets us up to meet the huge challenges of the 21st century.

“The drop in revenues that Wayne Swan has highlighted today only underscores the Greens’ decision to oppose the Treasurer’s $16 billion tax cut to big business. At a time when our banks and mining giants are making massive profits, the broad community deserves to share those

profits to help those many Australians who are struggling and to invest in the future.

“If Wayne Swan is going to achieve a wafer thin surplus by shifting money around from one year to another, by cutting desperately needed services and by again putting off tackling structural issues in our economy, he’s only going to make life harder for Australians now and into the future.

“This is just another version of the Howard and Costello’s ‘rivers of gold’ budgets, when the Liberal Party squandered the revenues from the first mining boom, failed to invest in health, education and clean technologies and undermined tax revenues for all future governments.

“Meanwhile, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have a $70 billion budget black hole and want to dig Australia deeper into the old, dead-end economy.

“The Budget-time choice between investing in the future and digging into the past has rarely been starker.”