Local Members Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones have described Tony Abbott’s first Budget is kick in the guts for the region and an end to Australia as a country of a fair go for all.
“He’s gone further than the draconian recommendations in the commission of audit. Declaring war on Medicare by introducing a $7 GP tax for all patients, including pensioners and the unemployed”, said Jones.
“It is a clear attempt to force doctors to axe bulk-billing.
Stephen Jones says benefits for over 50,000 local pensioners will also be cut, and unemployed people under 30 will be left to fend for themselves for the first 6 months after getting the sack.
“The unemployment rate in the Illawarra is already 2 per cent above the national average. Not only is there nothing in this Budget to address this problem but it has gone even further and taken the axe to skills and training”, said Ms Bird.
“The cuts to university funding and support will only make it more expensive for students. It is short sighted and reflects this government’s twisted priorities.
“The Abbott Government are slapping themselves on the back for halving a Budget deficit that they themselves doubled by introducing an unaffordable Paid Parental Leave Scheme, giving tax cuts to mining companies and a $9 billion gift to the Reserve Bank” said Ms Bird.
“This Budget expects the most vulnerable in our society to carry too much of the burden for Tony Abbott’s twisted priorities.
“In the Illawarra the increase in fuel excise will only add to the pressure on our families. Over 9,000 locals currently have to drive outside the region to get to work every day. Hiking up the cost of petrol could soon make this unsustainable.”
Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones also indicated that they were unsurprised but disappointed to see no allocation of funding for local infrastructure projects, in particular the Maldon Dombarton Rail Line and the Home of Football.
- Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local statistics show there were 2,130,799 GP consultations in the region last year. Each of those consultations would attract a co-payment of $5 - $7 (with the proviso that health care card holders would have the additional fee waived after 10 GP visits).
- There are over 50,000 pensioners who will be affected by the change to pension indexation and assets tests.