Liberals must use Budget Reply to be upfront about cuts hurting Canberra
ACT Senator Kate Lundy, Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann and Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh are calling on Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to be upfront about any planned cuts on Canberra in the Opposition’s formal budget reply on Thursday.
With only one day until the budget reply speech to Parliament, they are calling on the Coalition to use this unique opportunity to make clear their plans for Canberra.
The Coalition has already proposed a number of cuts that would hurt local workers and families, including:
- At least 20,000 jobs from the public service in Canberra
- Household assistance payments typically worth over $1000 a year to local families
- The School Kids Bonus – used by 14,000 local families in our electorate
- The Instant Asset Write Off that 34,100 of small businesses in our electorate are eligible to use if they purchase new equipment
- The re-introduction of a 15% superannuation tax on 46,500 of Canberra workers earning below $37,000. This is worth up to $500 a year to their retirement savings.
- Labor’s fibre to the home NBN now confirmed for roll out in the suburbs of the Inner North and Gungahlin, and the whole of Canberra within 3 years. The Coalition will make people pay up to $5,000 to get optic fibre all the way to the premises
Given the Coalition’s track record, ACT Labor representatives are concerned the Coalition may also cut:
- The Income Support Bonus payments going to 9321 people in Canberra. Payments of $210 per year for singles, and $350 to couples – the next payments are scheduled for a week after the election. The Coalition voted against this cost-of-living help only a few months ago in Parliament.
- The Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme that supports workers who would otherwise lose entitlements if their employer goes bankrupt or into liquidation. Since 2007, 829 local workers have received $8,699,566.73 in entitlements under this scheme
If these concerns about possible cuts are unfounded, then Tony Abbott should use his Budget reply on Thursday to make absolutely clear that he will not take the axe to these programs if elected.
If Tony Abbott is going to be honest and upfront with our community, he needs to assure us that important help for local families and communities won’t face the axe.
If he is not prepared to give that assurance, then he must clarify what is on the chopping block.
Canberra deserves detailed candour in Thursday evening’s budget reply so voters can make an informed choice on 14 September.
Labor have been absolutely clear about our future investment and spending plans – it is there for all to see in Tuesday’s budget.
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