Budget puts Australia’s future development on the back burner
13 May 2014: KAP Leader and Federal MP for Kennedy, Bob Katter has today slammed the Federal budget as a blow to Australia’s development and creating jobs.
“The budget has nothing to do with developing Australia. The liberals as usual, are hero’s of abolishing jobs, but they join the ALP in the dunces corner when it comes to creating jobs. They are just as bad if not worse than the Labor Party” Mr Katter said.
“Let me be specific, if you introduce mandated ethanol, you absolutely know you create 30,000 jobs in rural Australia. If you build the railway line to the galilee basin you absolutely know you will create 40,000 jobs.
“If you have reserved resource policy on gas, e.g. a canal to the gulf and grid power, 10,000 mining jobs you can supply cheap electricity. This policy enabled Qld. to have the cheapest electricity in the world and secured for Qld. a massive aluminium industry. But there is not a single development job created in this budget” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter’s criticism of the Federal budget comes off the back of his question to the Treasurer during today’s question time. Mr Katter’s question asked why the real issues affecting Australian’s are not being addressed in the budget.
“Household electricity prices after 9 years of corporatisation have soared from $860 to $2100 this year. Petrol prices, (following the refusal to mandate ethanol) soar 50% above prices in Brazil and America. Whilst with the world’s cheapest land, Australia pays the world’s highest housing prices. With farm incomes falling disastrously, food prices rise and rise. Can he explain why these, the real issues, are not being addressed in this budget.” Mr Katter asked.
Below are Mr Katter’s comments on sections of the 2014-15 budget.
“Ethanol has been hit – a towering stupidity – ethanol increase farm profits, creates jobs, reduces petrol prices and through reduced emissions save lives. The 12.5c double tax on ethanol is bad news, but ethanol will survive – just. The Government instead of creating
30,000 jobs in rural Australia through mandating, they are going to continue to send $23,000 million a year to the Middle Eastern oil producers” Mr Katter said.
“This has to be a mild insanity. If this was Friday night football you would be sent off, maybe not put on report.”
Reintroduction of the indexation of the fuel excise
Mr Katter has pointed out the negative consequences the reintroduction of the indexation of the fuel excise will have on non-metropolitan Australia.
“When people go to work in the capital cities they are subsidised on commuter transportation – buses, rail, trams, monorails – to the tune of 30% tax on fuel. When we, non-metropolitan people, go to work we don’t have commuter transportation systems and we pay 30% tax on fuel. So they get subsidies to the tune of 30% and we get taxed 30%. Now, with this budget it is going to be 40%” Mr Katter said.
If you are born after 1965, then you will have to work until you are 70. The government’s decision to increase the aged pension age to 70 years has been described by Mr Katter as ‘cruel’.
“The vast majority of the white collar jobs are in the metropolitan areas. Asking someone who works with their hands, to work ‘till his 70, not giving them access to their super until they are 70 – this is simply cruel ” Mr Katter said.
Roads and infrastructure
“The securing of funding for the two Cairns southern access overpasses was hard yakka. So stage 2 funding announcement in the budget is big news for Far North QLD. Cattle and Frances Creeks funding upgrades at Ingham fixes the last worst pacific highway hold up.
However, Mr Katter is critical of the real benefits other spending on infrastructure will deliver.
“The LNP spending on infrastructure, will be ‘self-indulgent’ infrastructure not ‘development’ infrastructure. Development infrastructure creates permanent jobs and real goods and services, it’s not about getting home 3 min earlier to watch the television” Mr Katter said.
Reducing the support to families through the Government’s tightening of eligibility for family tax benefits is reducing assistance where it is needed most.
“This is very serious. Australia is a vanishing a race. In the next 10-15 years as the baby boomers pass away, there will be more deaths than births in Australia. But young people cannot afford to have children. They postpone it and then it is too late. It is the last thing in the world we should be doing – reducing family assistance” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter is outraged at the deferral of the National Partnership Agreement for adult public dental services.
“Dental health is the major issue raised in the Kennedy cabinet meetings we hold” Mr Katter said.
In response to the additional $6 million for Royal Flying Doctor Service Mr Katter said, “The assistance is for the half million travelling members of the public that tours North West Queensland’s RFDS areas, as well as the half million people that live in the areas.”
On the Government removing funding guarantees for public hospitals Mr Katter said
“This is the most serious question hanging over the budget ‘the privatisation of health’
I remain highly suspicious that this measure may well be the full privatisation of much of the hospital system and therefore the closure of many small western hospitals.
On hitting Australians with the new $7 co-payment for doctor’s visits and the extra $5 for PBS prescriptions (.80 cents for concession card holders) Mr Katter has stated “A lot of pensioners will be paying 10% of their incomes on visiting the doctor. This has been drawn up by people that see $7 as a ‘cappuccino’. To a lot of people, compulsory visits to the doctor will mean they could quite literally sometimes go hungry.
“It will also hit preventative medicine causing a blossoming of serious health problems” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter is critical of the government’s move to cut industry assistance and make business self-reliant.
“Free trade has been a disaster for the Australian economy and had yielded negligible benefits for Australian agriculture and manufacturing. ‘Flat-earthers’ are riding high in this budget. I pray for the day that the eco-rats (economic rationalists) leave the sinking ship of the Australian economy – a ship they have sunk.”
On the $1 billion for the National Stronger Regions Fund Mr Katter said “The last Treasurer and the previous Minister had a proud record with these allocations. There is a shadow, however, over at least one Minister who will be involved in such future decision making. I will be pointing out to the Treasurer and Prime Minister that they ensure that this fund is administered with integrity.”
In regards to the $550 million for the roads to recovery and black spot funding Mr Katter said “We have, particularly on the Atherton Tablelands and the Charters Towers Tablelands highway, extremely dangerous situations. There are deaths taking place and more to follow. So we will be moving forward with aggression to secure this funding particularly for these areas.”
On the pausing the indexation of the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) Mr Katter has said “The effective cut backs in FAGs grants for 4 years, which is deeply disappointing.”
On the $100 million over 4 years to improve coverage and competition for mobile and wireless broadband services in regional Australia Mr Katter said “This is excellent. We have been screaming for this for ages. We thank the Government and we would hope that the initiative continues. This is just a foot in the door.” Mr Katter said “But it is a start”.
The Government announced a $320 million drought support package for drought affected farmers.
“When you break it down, it is $80 million a year. We don’t want to be an ingrate, but $80 million a year for 4 years works out to be $15 million a year for Qld. We have never (in the bush) asked for subsidies or hand-outs. We have however, asked for a level playing field and the government continues to give out political lollypops instead of real action on the value of the dollar and the massive tariff/subsidies enjoyed by every other country, while ours are near zero.”
In response to ongoing concerns for the privatisation of Government assets, and the Government’s announcement in this budget of scoping studies for the privatisation of The Royal Mint, Australian Hearing and the registry of ASIC, Mr Katter said “What are you going to sell next – the High Court of Australia? Will we will call tenders for the Chief Justice!
“As for the Royal Mints privatisation – a whole new twist on the adage ‘a licence to print money’”, Mr Katter said
Government job and agency cuts
Mr Katter has criticised the pain the Government is causing to public service workers.
“So long as no one is hurt here, there is no doubt that there is a bloated Canberra public service. But to traumatise every Government employee, like the LNP is constantly doing. Are we such a poor nation that we need to go around terrorising people?” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter went on to say, “The Government must be given full marks for taking some very tough decisions on bloated bureaucracies and greenhouse gas emission offices and such imbecilities as the greenhouse gas emissions office have cost and I believe the Treasurer on this one, over $2,000 million dollars.”
“This office eg. presided over a significant increase in emissions whereas the implementation of ethanol would have seen a dramatic reduction. They are getting their just deserts and we praise the government for such action.” Mr Katter said.