The 2022 budget has let down communities. It doesn’t deliver where the money is needed most for remote First Nations communities, for people everywhere who rely on our embattled public hospital system, seek better access to essential services like housing, and rely on essential payments like JobSeeker.
The Morrison government is spending up big in the regions this year with billions of dollars for defence and infrastructure projects. There are billions for coal, oil and gas, with a $300 million handout of public money to their fossil fuel mates to prop up gas fracking companies.
But the budget has let down First Nations people living in remote communities who urgently need funding for housing, and increased community services led by Aboriginal controlled organisations. The contrast is stark.
GetUp Election Co-Director Larissa Baldwin said:
“The message from communities we work with in the NT and Queensland is loud and clear - public money is urgently needed for housing and health, not to prop up fracking corporations.
“Traditional Owners have been on the frontline for decades protecting their country from fracking. And we are united behind them today to say stop wasting public money on failed gas projects.
“We’re seeing another national climate disaster unfold with the devastating floods. And we know burning coal and gas is making disasters more frequent. Yet climate spending is paltry and decreasing.
“Once again this year we see this government hand out more cash for polluting, destructive fracking, which will destroy land and water, when what remote communities have consistently asked for is new housing, housing refurbishments and upgrades.
“Remote communities across the country have battled for decades to get improved housing. Yet, even after two years of Covid highlighting the impacts of overcrowded housing, the government has failed to respond with increased funding for remote housing.
“Year on year, the budget for remote communities falls massively short. Aboriginal controlled organisations estimate a $5 billion investment in remote housing is needed nationally to build the housing infrastructure urgently needed. The federal government should restore funding partnerships between state and federal governments to deliver quality housing for remote communities.
“What you didn’t hear from the Treasurer last night is that everyday people’s wages are going backwards, more people are underemployed or working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and our public hospitals will continue to run on empty.
“Coalition attacks on healthcare funding have left our public hospitals running on fumes. When disasters and concurrent crises hit, hospitals are left struggling to provide basic support when their communities need them most.
“Pensioners and unemployed people have been given a support payment that’s almost half the amount for people in work, even though they need more support. Until we permanently lift all support payments above the poverty line, hundreds of thousands of people will remain living in poverty.
“This is a pre-election budget splashing cash in marginal seats and offering the scraps leftover for everyday people struggling with the cost of living,” said Larissa Baldwin.