The first O'Farrell budget was delivered this week with much fanfare and general backslapping from the conservative side of politics. This edition of Red Leather aims to give you the view from the Labor Opposition.
On Tuesday our initial reaction was outlined in this media release. The biggest losers in this budget are:
- 70,000 pensioners will see their public housing rents increase by almost $10 per week –one third of their pension increase;
- Foster carers will have their allowances cut by more than $212 a fortnight when their child turns 16;
- New carers who adopt children and young people in out of home care will have their allowances reduced;
- There will be a $12 increase in electricity bills, on top of Barry O'Farrell's decision to increase electricity prices by 18 per cent on July 1;
- Water prices likely to increase as a result of privatisation of Sydney Desalination Plant;
- Parents will be forced to pay new fees for State-run pre-schools;
- First homebuyers will miss out on stamp duty concessions worth tens of thousands of dollars for young families; and
- Further budget cuts have been identified in key agencies including Family and Community Services and Education.
Today, John Robertson gave the address in reply.
Kristina Keneally also wrote an interesting piece for ABC Unleashedwhich is also well worth a read.
The biggest cuts in the budget will be in the detail. The government believes that it can find $8billion in savings over the next four years. Time will reveal these cuts and the NSW community will suffer the consequences.
PS –I am pleased to report that the upgrade to my website, database and email service is nearly complete. This e-brief comes out fortnightly. If you are receiving for the first time and no longer wish to you can unsubscribe from this list. Feedback is always welcome.
GOVERNMENT BUDGET DOCUMENTS
For all the budget papers, check the Treasury website: http://www.budget.nsw.gov.au/.
For each portfolio the media releases can be found here: http://www.budget.nsw.gov.au/media
Remember that it is often what is not in the budget rather than what is that tells the real story.
The Opposition's response:
FOCUS ON TRANSPORT
For Transport this budget contains:
- more broken promises than kept ones, including the slashing of commuter carparks, transport interchanges and failure to deliver new express services and accessible stations.
- far too much talk and far too little action on issues like light rail where the Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill timeframe has been extended and the much planned and supported Greenway has been "deferred" indefinitely. Lots of money spent on feasibility studies for the CBD, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Uni and the North Coast.
- a complete failure to deal with the issue of congestion on the CityRail network – an issue that will impact on travel time, safety and the ability to deliver additional services in the future
- very little for regions like the Hunter, Central Coast and the Illawarra and even less for rural NSW
WHAT'S IN THE BUDGET FOR MY DUTY ELECTORATES?
- In Balmain, the Government canned the Greenway, but provided funding for the design and construction of the Barangaroo headland park, an upgrade of the Balmain Western Corner storage (Sydney Ferries), the Passenger cruise terminal at White Bay and the White Bay Power Station Heritage Conservation.
- The Narooma News gave a good outline of what's in the State Budget for Bega, but Andrew Constance continues to take credit for Labor initiatives including funding for planning for Bega Hospital and Prices Highway upgrades. Plus Bega missed out on$7 million of the $17 million of promised funding for the Bega Bypass.
- On the South Coastthere are fears for the future of the Berry office of the Department of Primary Industry, and for some positions at the Nowra head office of the Department of Local Government, $80 million will go towards the Princes Highway but there was nothing for public transport.
- Sydney will get $51 million for the Wynyard Walk to Barangaroo with no plan to get people there by public transport and Willoughby residents will benefit from money going towards an upgrade at Neutral Bay PS.
Despite the fact he is clearly no fan of the worker, Hon Peter Phelps MLC joined today's protest against Barry O'Farrell's assault on public services.
Phelpsy, as he likes to call himself, offered up the following thoughts on the rally on his facebook page:
"At the union protest, maybe 8000 at best. Mostly bearded weirdos, union hacks and women with grudges. HSU speaker – wonder what she thinks of Thomson."
...and commenting on his own status update...
"Why can't unionists speak proper Englisn [sic] and feel the need to swear."