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Budget of missed opportunity for Newcastle.

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10 May 2005


This is a Budget of missed opportunity for Newcastle

On the four key areas where investment was needed - infrastructure, employment, skills and care - this Government has failed to deliver.

Instead of investing in the future of our economy and our community, the Government has again gone for the short-term policies, the one-off payments, and the band-aid solutions. If the Treasurer is still around this time next year, we’ll be doing it all again.

Most disappointingly, there is no long-term vision, assistance or leadership in this Budget for the University of Newcastle. The Government still believes an appropriate response to the problems of our University is to blame management and then forget about it.

The Government has pitched its tax cuts squarely at high income earners. For people on the average income of $35,000 a year in Newcastle, a $6 a week tax cut has been provided. However, those on $100,000 a year will be about $50 a week better off. Once more, the wealthy are the winners under the Howard Government.

The Government’s announcements on pensions will not move people from welfare to work, they will move people from welfare to welfare. Changes to sole parent and disability support benefits will force recipients to look for work without providing any decent training or assistance, then shift them back onto Newstart if they are unable to.

While there are one-off payments in the Budget to help carers find a job, there is no long-term investment in the infrastructure of respite services, aged care or disability support.

While some money for physical infrastructure is welcome, namely the funding for broadband services and improvements to the rail coal chain that I have been calling for, it is disappointing that there has been no investment in our knowledge infrastructure. The skills crisis will not be solved by increasing skilled migration and setting up private TAFE colleges.

And again, there is no money for EnergyAustralia Stadium or Newcastle University

For more information contact Sharon Grierson on 4926 1555