In this Budget submission, we call on the Federal Government to reset its policy approach and embrace a more equitable and just vision for the nation. Despite more than two decades of uninterrupted economic growth, inequality in Australia is growing and core government services and payments are not meeting the community’s needs. Sustained funding cuts have placed our health, education, and community services under strain, and gaps in our social security system are pushing many vulnerable people deeper into poverty. At the same time, proposed cuts to corporate tax rates and the persistence of unfair and inefficient tax breaks risk widening the gap between rich and poor, and eroding the revenue base that is needed to fund essential services and supports.
Against this backdrop, the St Vincent de Paul Society is calling for a Federal Budget that prioritises justice, fairness and solidarity. A Budget based on these principles must rebuild and repair the social safety net, invest in education and our health system, and restore funding to essential social programs and services. It must also ensure a more equitable and sustainable tax system that removes unfair tax breaks and loopholes that benefit the wealthy, and secures the revenue needed to fund our health, education and social services.
Critically, the Government must not seek to balance the Budget on the backs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and families. In the pursuit of so-called budget repair, recent budgets have slashed funding to health, education and essential social services, and reduced support to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities. At the same time, generous tax cuts and concessions have benefited corporations and high-income earners, and reduced the government revenue needed to fund public services and infrastructure. The continuation of this unbalanced approach to fiscal repair is economically, socially and morally irresponsible.
The 2017 Budget is an opportunity to correct the country’s course and embrace a fairer, more equitable and sustainable Budget strategy. This submission focuses on the key elements that we believe should be part of a just and realistic Budget strategy, namely:
- Adequate income and a strong social safety net;
- Decent employment and a living wage;
- Secure housing;
- Universal education;
- Good health for all;
- Community services and support to those in need; and
- A fair and equitable tax system.
Read the St Vincent de Paul Society's media release calling on the government to rethink its budget strategy.