Budget Fails Fairness Test - ACOSS
26 May 2015 at 10:28 am
The Federal Budget will strip some $15 billion over four years from basic services, directly impacting families and low income earners, according to the Australian Council of Social Services.
The ACOSS Budget Analysis 2015-16 shows that by keeping most of the 2014 savings measures and introducing new cuts, the 2015 budget will strip an estimated $15 billion over four years from basic services.
ACOSS Chief Executive Cassandra Goldie said that last year’s “devastating” Federal Budget cast a long shadow that undermines some advances made in this year’s budget.
"There is a fair alternative path to budget repair – including through structural tax reform – but unfortunately the best options have been ruled out by the Government in advance of the taxation review,” Dr Goldie said.
"While ACOSS welcomed the $3.5 billion new investment in early childhood education and care and a more sensible road to pension reform, the overall Budget fails the fairness test because it delivers an estimated $15 billion in spending cuts, with new cuts to child dental and community health programs in this Budget on top of retained savings from the last Budget.
"It is disappointing that the Government appears to be retreating from its commitment to pursue comprehensive tax reform, which is vital to provide the revenue future Governments will need for essential services.
“People on modest incomes will pay for inaction on tax reform when they need health care, to send their children to school, lose their jobs or retire.
"This year's Budget not only failed to reverse the severe cuts to payments and programs from the previous budget, but directly linked unfair changes to family payments to new spending on child care in the current Budget,” Dr Goldie said.
According to ACOSS, $1 billion in cuts will be made to vital community services for the people in greatest need around the country, such as those experiencing financial crisis or family breakdown, vulnerable young people, people facing eviction and homelessness, carers in need of respite, those struggling with drug and alcohol addictions or mental health problems, including $500 million from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and programs.
ACOSS said the 2015-16 Budget includes new cuts to a number of supports and services which will directly impact on people on low and moderate incomes including:
- Reduced funding to child dental health programs saving $126 million/4 years
- Cuts to health funding likely to undermine the capacity of community health organisations and services saving $963 million/4 years
- Reduction in funding of remote housing programs of $95 million/4 years.
The ACOSS Budget Analysis is available online.