Federal Budget a Big Risk and a Missed Opportunity.

Friday May 24, 2024 

Federal Member for Nicholls, Sam Birrell MP, says the underwhelming federal budget lacks vision, imagination and a coherent policy response to inflation which risks the cost-of-living crisis being tougher for longer.

“While energy and rental subsidies will provide welcome relief, they are temporary measures and a cynical attempt to artificially lower inflation,” Mr Birrell said.

“What the Albanese government is doing is treating the symptoms, not the underlying problems.

“Labor’s bungled energy policy is responsible for soaring energy costs, and picking up a small part of the bill won’t fix the problem.”

Mr Birrell there is economist after economist predicting the big spending budget will be inflationary and the treasurer has taken a massive gamble on them being wrong.

“The opportunity was there to invest in infrastructure, particularly in the regions, that would drive productivity,” he said.

“The budget should also have tackled the labour market issues and industrial relations barriers that hold back the economy.

“Instead, we have a government trying to buy its way to another term by splashing cash to mask its inability to stop the decline in living standards for working Australians.

People have gone backwards under this government and this budget risks worse outcomes for struggling households.”

Mr Birrell said the budget also underlines the Albanese government’s lack of investment in regional Australia.

“This government has struggled to roll out any of the funding already announced for regional Australia and this budget confirms that only a select few major infrastructure projects will get funded over the next seven years.

“As expected, following the outcomes of Labor’s infrastructure review the $208 million the Coalition government allocated to the Shepparton Bypass has disappeared from the books, and the lack of any strategic investment pipeline means it won’t be built by a Labor government.

“Again, an unidentified ‘not for publication’ amount sits in the budget for water buybacks, which pose a significant social and economic to communities across the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The regional budget statement even attempted to spin the $1 billion dollar investment in biosecurity as a win for agriculture, despite applying a fresh food tax on producers to help pay for dealing with the risk posed by their overseas competitors.

“Key road programs such as safer roads and black spot have additional funding, but it won’t stretch far enough after years of Labor neglect, especially at state level.”

Mr Birrell welcomed $1 billion in the budget towards accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

“Across the parliament, we all need to do more to tackle the scourge of gender-based violence,” he said.