Workers, students, artists squeezed again

Published on Wed 20 December 2017 12:58pm

If entrenching disadvantage and holding down Australia’s creative and productive energies are the objectives of the Turnbull Government then the latest mid-year budget update suggests they’re going well.

With its pre-Christmas release of the Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) this week, the government has cut social welfare, frozen higher education funding, further undermined our independent peak arts body, the Australia Council, and promised higher taxes for low- and middle-income earners.

All these actions impact on Fremantle. As a diverse community with strengths in education, innovative manufacturing, and creative industries – which should be strong suits of Australia’s economic future – Fremantle is being held back by the retrograde policies of the Turnbull Government.

Limiting students’ access to higher education loans and decreasing the income threshold for loan repayment are also on the cards, which will deliver the triple-whammy of reducing Australia’s future productivity, increasing inequality, and making life even more difficult for young people who already face falling real wages and expensive housing.

At the same time, the government is fixed on gifting $65 billion in tax cuts for big business, and further tax relief for those in the top income tax bracket.

And as the NBN rollout continues to provide predictably poor-quality broadband through 19th century copper wires, the Government has admitted the delays through problems with HFC could cost a further $500 million, while lower revenue may require an asset write-down.

Having more than doubled Australia’s national debt in four years, this Coalition government’s claim of fiscal responsibility is a sham, and Mr Turnbull’s pea-and-thimble money shuffling is taking support from those who can least afford it, while gifting concessions to those already well-off.

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