Early Childhood Educator Maddie Griffin gives the budget a fail on behalf of United Voice members
Prime Minister Abbott and Treasurer Hockey just made life a whole lot harder for United Voice members. If this budget is passed in its current form, some of the best things about living in Australia will be destroyed.
United Voice members know what’s important in life – good health, secure incomes, a dignified retirement, strong communities and an affordable life. For many of us, these basics are already out of reach.
This budget will make things worse, and the hardest hit will be people who can least afford it.
NEW MEDICARE FEES AND CUTS TO HEALTH
The $7 Medicare fee is the first step towards credit card healthcare. We’ll be slugged with extra costs for GP visits, blood tests and imaging. Prescription medication costs will go up, and on top of that, the government will cut federal funding for hospitals.
FORCING YOUNG PEOPLE INTO POVERTY
Anyone under 30 will have to wait up to 6 months for New Start payments if they find themselves out of work. This will hit members in casual and insecure work particularly hard, and with no safety net, you could be forced to stay in bad jobs where your rights aren’t protected.
We wonder if Tony Abbott has any tips on finding a new job when you can’t afford rent, food, transport or work clothes.
RAISING THE RETIREMENT AGE AND REDUCING PENSIONS
Raising the retirement age to 70 is a big blow for United Voice members, especially those working in physical jobs like aged care, cleaning, and security services. Low paid, essential workers who rely on the pension will not only have to work longer, but are also expected to live on less as the pension will now be indexed at a lower rate.
NO PLAN FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING OR THE COST OF LIVING
Housing costs are the single biggest expense for Australian households. With the rising cost of living one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation, you’d expect the budget to have some solutions. Instead, all funding for affordable housing schemes has been cut, and there is no new plan to tackle the housing crisis.
Meanwhile, a new tax on petrol, changes to Medicare, pensions and cuts to hospitals and schools mean the cost of living will go up, incomes will go down, and the path to a US-style working poor will be well and truly paved.
$80 Billion will be ripped out of health and education, meaning the states may be forced to raise the GST or let our schools and hospitals collapse.
On top of that, a new fund has been created to reward states for privatising our assets and infrastructure, like water, electricity, roads and transport – meaning you’ll pay more for poorer quality services and infrastructure.
Now, more than ever, working people need a strong voice on the things that matter. In 2014 United Voice will stand up for your priorities.