Federal budgets are probably not everyone’s prime time viewing. But whether you hang on every word the Treasurer utters on Budget night or deliberately switch to MasterChef, the things that are announced do have a way of affecting each of us.
So here are the things I am pleased with, and not so pleased with in the 2017
I’m happy that the Government dropped some of its so-called Zombie measures from the 2014 Budget. They will not proceed with plans to cut pensions if someone returns to their land of birth for more than six weeks. Nor will they penalise women who are entitled to paid parental leave from their work place, despite having labelled them “rorters”. And young people will not be forced to wait six months or five weeks before accessing unemployment benefits.
The Government has recognised it cannot get these measures through the Senate, and so has no choice other than to abandon them.
Thankfully, they have also dropped their plans to privatise Australian Hearing, a well-run and efficient organisation that helps children, Aboriginal and elderly people who have hearing difficulties.
It isn’t all good news though.
The budget revealed a cut in funding for Hawkesbury schools to the tune of $7 million dollars over the next two years; cuts to university funding and increases in student fees; no immediate respite for people visiting their GP or specialist, with Medicare rebates still frozen for many years; and nothing that seriously addresses the housing affordability crisis. Nor was there any investment in roads in the Hawkesbury – no commitment to a third crossing of the river, something that I think infuriates us all, every single day.