Pokies Trial and Foreign Aid Lose Out in Coalition Costings
5 September 2013 at 5:10 pm
The Federal Coalition will scrap the ACT pokies trial and significantly reduce foreign aid, as part of 11th hour budget costings released by Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey.
The Coalition’s Costing Document says the dumping of the pokies pre-commitment trial in the national capital will save $42 million over four years.
In November 2012 legislation to tackle gambling addiction and poker machine reform was introduced into Federal Parliament paving the way for a pre-commitment trial in the ACT.
However, ACT Clubs had voted to hold off on any trial in the ACT until after the Federal Election.
The Minister for Community Services Jenny Macklin told Parliament at the time the reforms would help problem gamblers, including the requirement that pre-commitment technology be implemented on gaming machines.
As well the Coalition has taken aim at foreign aid funding saying it is unsustainable to continue massive projected growth in foreign aid funding whilst the Australian economy continues at below trend growth.
The costing document shows a reduction in foreign aid over four years would save $4.5 billion over four years.
“Australia needs a stronger economy today so that it can be more generous in the future,” Joe Hockey said.
“The Coalition will cut the growth in foreign aid. We will index the increase to the Consumer Price Index.”
International development agency Oxfam Australia says the Coalition’s $4.5 billion proposed hit to the overseas aid budget comes at the expense of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The agency said the Coalition’s announcement was the latest blow for the overseas aid program, which has had its funding diverted and delayed on many occasions over the past two years.
Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said the Coalition’s plan continued the alarming trend of Australian political parties raiding the overseas aid budget.
“The overseas aid budget is Australia’s commitment to the world’s poor and vulnerable, and is not an ATM for political parties in search of cash to prop up their bottom line,” Dr Szoke said.
UNICEF Australia has criticised Coalition’s foreign aid costings saying the Coalition has failed to listen to voters.
“We’ve spoken to voters. We’ve asked them face-to-face what they want of our government. They want us to deliver on our commitment to those living in extreme poverty,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The Coalition’s plan to cut foreign aid by $4.5 billion over four years is a kick in the teeth to the 1.2 billion people living on less than $2 a day."
The costings document also includes the Coalition's plans to reverse Labor’s planned changes to FBT arrangements for cars. The coalition says this will be a cost impost of $1.7 billion.