clauds-bloop-deactivated2014090 said: I have friends in Australia, and to my knowledge, Tony Abbott only cut 54 million dollars from the Indigenous community because the Labor government spent so much money in the previous eight years. You (and everyone around you) will be paying off the 30 billion dollar debt for the rest of your lives. So will your children. And their children. Do you still want that 54 million dollars? If so, you have not been listening.
Your Australian friends must be such remarkably good sources on economics. So much so that their figures are out by nearly half a billion dollars.
Here’s some real sources for you:
- “Budget 2014: $534 million cut to Indigenous programs”
- “Indigenous affairs hit by ‘savage budget cuts’”
- “Budget 2014: fuel excise, cuts to Indigenous programs will hurt regional WA, say farmers and welfare groups”
The cuts to Indigenous spending is one of the largest cuts in the entire budget. What is not being cut is the $4.5 billion in subsidies the mining industries get. In fact, they’re getting even more allocated to them with this budget. The money is being taken from the least privileged among us and given to the most.
See, certain portions (predominantly Murdoch owned) of the media have been spinning this story for so long that Labor spent all our money and we have a ‘budget emergency’, and a lot of Australians believe it. I mean, if it’s in the paper every day how could it not be true?
What’s the real story?
First, that there is none. Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world right now:
- Our national debt is lower than any analogous country
- Our net government debt is 12.1%, compared to 74.7% average of other advanced economies
- We have an AAA credit rating from all three credit rating agencies (one of only 10 countries in the entire world)
- Labor blew out our debt in order to stimulate our economy during the GFC, an act widely recognised by world-leading economists as saving us from going into recession
- Between 2011-12 and 2012-13 [Labor’s term] the budget deficit fell from 1.7% to 1.2% of GDP — the largest year-to-year drop ever.
- The Liberal Government has doubled the budget deficit in their own modelling by making changes to spending and by changing the assumptions in the model
The Liberal Government is cutting the Carbon Pricing ($7.6 billion a year) and the Mining Tax (22.5% of annual profits). The former charges the biggest polluting businesses for the carbon pollution they emit as a means of encouraging them to lower their emissions. The former is a tax on the multi-billion dollar mining companies for profiting off resources that they do not own. An industry that has actively displaced many Australians from their land, but most notably Indigenous persons. An industry that has invested millions of dollars in horrendous racist advertising and campaigns to effectively destroy Indigenous Australian Land Rights movements.
By removing those taxes and at the same time introducing new random spending measures (e.g. the parental leave scheme), it’s leaving an approx $50 billion dollar hole in the budget. A hole they are filling by taking it from the most vulnerable demographics: Indigenous, young, poor, sick and uneducated. The last 4 categories all being those than Indigenous people are more likely to belong to than white Australians.
And all this while it is currently costing us $400,000 a year per person to keep asylum seekers in offshore detention. While drastically cutting our spending on foreign aid, our inhumane treatment of people fleeing their countries to seek refuge here is adding about $10b to the budget.
The only ‘emergency’ is that we have failed to profit long term from the mining boom. We have failed to legislate on carbon pollution and have pandered to the interests of the carbon-intensive industries. Something else that is going to cost us dearly long-term. We have not only failed to invest in renewables, but this budget is also slicing the existing funding for that as well. The irony being that investment in lowering carbon output and investing in renewable energy and the creation of the necessary infrastructure is widely recognised by leading economists (e.g., Michael Molitor) as one of the best ways to create jobs and stimulate an economy.
And lastly, to answer your question despite it being based on a false premise: yes. Yes I do want that 54 million, and the rest of it. I will gladly pay high taxes for the rest of my life to see that money being invested into the Indigenous communities [and the environment as well]. Don’t ever ever tell me that any government spent too much on Indigenous communities. When Australia is the worst of any developed country for Indigenous health according to the World Health Organisation, we are clearly not doing even close to enough.