Reactions to the 2009 ACT Budget

johnboy 6 May 2009 12

In response to today’s budget we’ve had the following commentary:

1. The Greens’ Meredith Hunter is reasonably pleased:

    “This Budget is a sign that with a strong Greens presence in the Legislative Assembly, the people of the ACT can expect a more sustainable Canberra – socially, economically and environmentally” Meredith Hunter said today.

    “The budget incorporates many initiatives that we know the people of Canberra will welcome. They include the reopening of a library in the inner south, mental health training for teachers and emergency service the introduction of bus rapid transit, the expansion of Canberra’s urban wetlands, and a comprehensive program to improve home water and energy efficiency in our homes.”

    “At a broader level, however, it is still not clear how this Government imagines we will work our way back from deficit. At its heart this is really a business as usual budget, rather than a vision for our times.”

2. The University of Canberra’s NowUC notes the emphasis on health and education:

    The ACT Government Budget brought down today will deliver on central election promises in health and education. Health and education account for 51 percent of the Budget.

3. The ABC reports that Zed Seselja is strangely calling for even bigger deficits to be run up:

    Mr Seselja says there is not enough spending to stimulate the economy and that the job of getting the ACT out of deficit will eventually fall to the taxpayer.

4. Four statements from the Liberals.

a) The first complains about a lack of vision: It taxes car drivers, bus users and, worst of all, foreshadows job cuts in the future. But it won’t say how or when or what. “It’s a plan for a decade of deficits with no plan on how to get the budget into surplus.. But there’s no enthusiasm for raising parking fees: “Katy Gallagher and ACT Labor have delivered a slap in the face to working families across Canberra. “This budget will slug all workers in Canberra with an increase of 20 per cent on ticketed parking machines and a 20 per cent and a 50 per cent increase for metered machines.

b) The second contains a Brendan Smyth clanger: “Business is another industry to suffer from this budget” (how many non-business industries are there?). Demands more money for tourism which is Brendan’s default position, and calls for less pesky regulation of the building industry.

c) The third has Jeremy Hanson’s displeasure at efficiency dividends in the Health Department, concern about the scrapping of the Ngunnawal Genealogy Project, and unhappiness about costs at the Prison for less facilities than promised. Steve Dozspot also lines up his ducks calling for more disabilities funding to cope with the ageing population, and would like to see class sizes brought down to the now magical number 21.

d) The fourth sees Vicki Dunne question if the Department of Public Prosecutions will be able to keep its new staff. Brendan Smyth wants a new Emergency Services Agency headquarters.

5. Green Amanda Bresnan is demanding improvements to the bus system to justify the raise in fares:

    “Bus fares going up over time is an unfortunate reality that we accept, but we are committed to seeing that this translates into much improved services.” Ms Bresnan said today.

    “A successful rapid bus trial, for example, will offer a way to really re-shape and modernise Canberra’s transport system, and we saw that in yesterday’s budget.”

    “We are also keen to see a new Smartcard ticketing system, that will speed up services in the short term and, more importantly, give us the data we need for more responsive and efficient planning.”

    In addition to the 11% rise in bus fares, the budget includes a 20% rise in parking fees.

    “The overall decision to catch the bus to work is still an attractive one, taking into account parking, fuel and car maintenance costs.”

6. Emboldened by the Liberal’s failure to land a punch in reply to her budget Katy Gallagher has come out swinging:

    “The Liberals seem to be saying they don’t support new spending, they want no price increases, no job losses, lower taxes, and no impact on the health or education budgets but they want a smaller deficit now. How exactly does the Opposition propose to achieve this? Through a few fewer reams of stationery?”

    “The Opposition is obviously experiencing an ideas deficit because they remain committed to their old, tired plans. They continue to harp on about their pre-election savings plan when the world has changed dramatically since then. They also fail to mention that the savings they identified were to offset their excessive election commitments – savings that would have seen disabled workers sacked and nursing staff removed from the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Far from presenting an alternative vision for the times, they’re stuck in the past and still dreaming about what could have been.”

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12 Responses to Reactions to the 2009 ACT Budget
dommie dommie 10:31 pm 01 Jul 09

Bus Fares went up 80c in one day and to be honest I don’t get to watch the news and am not overly upset by this. But when I called the wonderful people on the ACTION helpdesk to enquire how this fare rise had been advertised there was no mention of any written print ads or posters. This was a complete surprise to me … yeah maybe I should get my head out of the sand but … when you stumble out of the house at 7.15am with three kids in tow with your cash in hand (and your paying daughters in hers), the last thing you want the bus driver to do is to look at you and say “your $1.20 short love, fares went up”. Communication in Government is abysmal at the best of times because they’re scared of wasting taxpayers money on advertising that won’t be appreciated. But this is something that affects many of the most vulnerable .. how many people were turned away from buses today because they didn’t have the right money?

Come on ACTION communicate with your clientele.

weeziepops weeziepops 8:03 am 07 May 09

Having been accused in the past of lacking perspective, I almost hesitate to say this. Almost. I was intruiged to hear one of the speakers at the ACTCOSS post-Budget forum moaning about lack of spending on conservation/environmental initiatives. In the context of around $35m in new money, I have limited sympathy when my own area of interest, disability, received $5.5m over four years.

jakez jakez 6:55 pm 06 May 09

Look it’s no surprise to me that the Parliamentary Liberal Party cares not a jot for small Government, but if they are going to abandon fundamental liberal principles, the least they could do was not be complete and utter mental vacuums about it.

…Then again it’s not like the lay party is a beacon of Small Government principles.

My Opposition Fail Award for the budget goes to Jeremy Hansen for opposing efficiency dividends that even Jacqui ‘It’s not socialism if I do it’ Burke thought was a good idea.

monomania monomania 3:10 pm 06 May 09

caf said :

Possum, as has been clarified here many times, the Immigration Bridge is being put forward (and funded) by a group of private citizens, not the Government.

But an entity half owned by the ACT Community ActewAGL is said to be willing to stump up $50 000 in kind. But then for all we know they could be putting twice that or more a year into topping up Giteau’s salary.

miz miz 1:27 pm 06 May 09

Buses – Lanyon shops should be on the redex route. Also, we still don’t have a decent weekend timetable. All form and no substance from where I’m sitting – and they want to put up the fares to boot!

caf caf 9:46 am 06 May 09

Possum, as has been clarified here many times, the Immigration Bridge is being put forward (and funded) by a group of private citizens, not the Government.

Possum Possum 8:45 am 06 May 09

Can the ACT govt now please reconsider that ridiculous idea of the Immigration Bridge? What a waste! Sydney has the Welcome Wall – that should suffice, surely. If migrants want to be remembered for ever they should donate to a needy charity.

eyeLikeCarrots eyeLikeCarrots 8:35 am 06 May 09

“This budget will slug all workers in Canberra with an increase of 20 per cent on ticketed parking machines and a 20 per cent and a 50 per cent increase for metered machines.

Hey Mr Stanhope….

Aint I glad I moved to the territory

damien haas damien haas 11:45 pm 05 May 09

Bigred – I have rebutted this false claim before. We have met with the TWU. They do not oppose light rail, if anything they see it as a source for new members. They cant see it getting up, and wish us well, but they do not oppose it.

ACT Light Rail have actually spoken to them – what is your source?

On the ACT budget, Stanhope has repeatedly said the ACT would not fund a light rail network – hence the Infrastructure Australia bid. Infrastructure funding can also come from sources outside the ACT Budget. This will be discussed at our meeting on Thursday May 7. You are welcome to attend.


Damien Haas

Chair – ACT Light Rail

Pandy Pandy 8:30 pm 05 May 09

Thanks Toots

bigred bigred 8:25 pm 05 May 09

Light rail gets no money while TWU funds ACT Labor.

Pandy Pandy 8:23 pm 05 May 09

Light rail gets no money, while the cupboard is bare.

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