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Federal Budget must set Australia up for decades of future prosperity



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Federal Budget must set Australia up for decades of future prosperity

Published: 3/02/2011

Action on a carbon price and measures to lift productivity and workforce participation so Australia can take full advantage of the new resources boom and a period of economic growth must be the focus of the 2011-12 Federal Budget.

The ACTU Federal Budget submission focuses on a balance of short and long term measures to readjust the fundamentals of the Australian economy to assist working families.

These include recommendations on tax, job and income security, planning for an ageing population, action on climate change, and greater investment in education, skills and training.

While the response to the floods crisis will require some re-prioritising of spending, the Government must not allow itself to be sidetracked from addressing short and long-term challenges to Australia’s prosperity and economic performance, said ACTU President Ged Kearney.

“Despite the impact of the recent floods, Australia’s economy is well down the track of having recovered from the global slowdown and is poised for a new period of growth,” Ms Kearney said.

“While other developed nations continue to struggle with high unemployment, tax rises and cuts to spending, in Australia the emerging challenge is how to manage and sustain this growth equitably.

“Australia cannot afford to coast complacently through another boom as it did for most of a decade under the neglect of the Howard Government.

“With its finances in good shape, notwithstanding the setback of the floods, the Government must use the 2011-12 Budget to position the economy for well beyond the resources boom. The interests of working Australians and their families must be front and centre of the

Budget. It is essential that all Australians share in the nation’s prosperity, not just the corporate sector.”

In the ACTU Budget submission, Facing the Future, unions have identified a number of priority areas that can be addressed by the Federal Government. They include:

• Building a fairer and more sustainable tax system, that is progressive and promotes participation and productivity improvements. • Increasing job and income security by delivering better jobs with good wages and conditions through collective bargaining and fairer industrial laws. • Planning for an ageing population, lifting the Superannuation Guarantee to 12% and

ensuring more of workers’ savings end up in their post-retirement incomes.

• Acting on climate change to ensure Australia fully participates in and benefits from the global low-carbon economy and that working families are supported during the transition. • Rebuilding the infrastructure of flood affected cities and regions and investing in new

infrastructure to expand economic capacity and meet social needs. • Improving investment in education, skills and training, including apprenticeships, to establish a workforce that is suited to the future demands of Australia’s economic growth.