More job cuts in Queensland’s future
I'm sorry. I have some difficult news.
I've just consulted my crystal ball (aka the Coalition and ALP's recent policy pronouncements) and I see more cuts to government services and jobs in our future.
I know, you've grown weary of cuts. More Queenslanders are now unemployed as a result of them and frontline services have suffered.
It struck me while listening to Julia Gillard's and Tony Abbott's recent speeches to the National Press Club that some of their remarks were hauntingly familiar. Tony's, in particular.
Tony promised us that under the Coalition "the budget will be back in the black", we'll have lower taxes, and we'll have "more responsive schools and hospitals". He elaborates in the Coalition's recent 'Our Plan' document, where he says that the Coalition will pay back more debt, build 21st century infrastructure, deliver "better services", and lower income and company tax while abolishing the mining tax and carbon tax.
I seem to remember another political figure making similar promises to Queenslanders in the not-too-distant past. Lower taxes, less debt, better frontline services and infrastructure…remember? I wondered back then how that could be true - how can a government, or anyone or anything else for that matter, earn less and spend more without borrowing??
The same will be true of Tony's promises. If we're paying back debt, delivering surpluses and lowering tax, then logically we must also be reducing government expenditure.
The cuts will be particularly dramatic if Tony is as committed to his climate change goals as he claims, given that The Australia Institute has calculated that the cost of this policy could blow out from the allocated $3 billion to around $100 billion. The Institute observes:
"Since the Coalition has committed to not introducing any new taxes or increasing any old taxes to fund the emissions reduction then the money would need to come from cuts in other areas."
The ALP, on the other hand, has already been cutting services in its search for an economically unsound surplus. The recent cuts to Parenting Payment for single parents - a group that was already "far more likely to miss out on the essentials of life than recipients of other income support payments and the community at large" - is one grievous example.
While the ALP has foresworn any further spending cuts in search of a surplus this financial year, Julia Gillard also observed during her press club address that "we are in an era when new structural calls on the Budget need to be associated with new structural savings".
In other words, all election promises are going to be funded by cutting other services and expenditure. Never mind that annual tax income is $30 billion less than it used to be, or that the mining tax is reportedly not raising any money in its current form and could use an overhaul, or that we waste over $11 billion per year subsidising fossil fuel use, the ALP would still rather cut than raise revenue.
I regret to be the bearer of bad news.
Adam Stone is the lead senate candidate for the QLD Greens in the upcoming 2013 federal election.