Only a year after the Morrison Government claimed to be “back in the black” with their Budget, Josh Fydenberg handed down his 2020-21 Budget with a record deficit of $213.7 billion, and debt expected to reach nearly $1 trillion by 2024. It’s clear that this Budget is racking up record levels of debt, whilst still leaving too many Australians behind. The Budget fails to address improvements to social housing. Immediate improvements and construction of social housing would provide a significant boost to our local construction sector, whilst simultaneously lifting the living standards of those who rely on such housing. The Government has failed to provide a boost for childcare, despite the sector’s immense vulnerability during the pandemic, meaning parents will have to pay more to send their child to kinder, minimising their chances of getting back to work. The Budget has no significant plan to help get women, particularly those over the age of 35 not eligible for wage subsidies, back into work. These are all areas of our economy that have been hit hardest during the pandemic.
Whilst Labor has always supported a wage subsidy program, the Government’s JobKeeper program left too many workers and businesses behind. It has left those in partnerships unable to gain access to two payments, and casual and insecure workers having to rely upon the lower JobSeeker payment. This has all been the case even before the Government has reduced the rate of JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments, even despite us in Victoria still being in lockdown, and businesses subject to restrictions. Even despite claims of a further $3.9 billion into the NDIS, this doesn’t make up for last year’s $4.6 billion underspend on the NDIS. This Government cannot be trusted with ensuring our essential services are fully utilised, especially in the pandemic environment we live in. This is further displayed through the Government’s illegal revenue-raising Robodebt program, which stole $700 million from those Australians who needed it the most.
I have advocated hard on behalf of our small businesses and traders during the pandemic. I’m glad however that the Government has taken up some of the ideas that I advocated for during our COVID recovery. I raised the Idea that small businesses should be able to spread their losses over the upcoming years so they can pay less tax. The Government subsequently took up this idea, with any losses incurred up to June 2022 able to be offset against prior profits made in the last two years, to the 2018-19 financial years.
I will continue fighting to ensure that the people of Maribyrnong aren’t ignored by the Federal Government. If you have any thoughts about the Government’s budget, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office to let me know your thoughts.