“It’s a tough budget for those already doing it tough but there are some sweeteners,” said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren today.
“The efficiency dividends from government sector agencies has been difficult to swallow. An already reduced workforce is worried about additional cuts and doesn’t trust that it won’t affect front line services.
As the Greens spokesperson on transport, Ms MacLaren pointed out the slow moves to get beyond traffic snarls.
“The community shouldn’t have to accept that light rail isn’t critical infrastructure. Everyone would be a winner had we invested in light rail - reducing congestion and transport costs across the metropolitan area. Today, only $5 million has been allocated over two financial years for light rail project planning.
“For commuters today and tomorrow, looks like we’re going to have to hop on our bicycles to avoid congestion. The $20 million for cycling infrastructure is welcome, but I would like to see improved public transport for all.”
Ms MacLaren turned to the improvements in housing.
“We welcome the additional housing for mental health commission clients of $8.7 million for 16 homes. The Greens support the commitment to 20,000 new affordable housing opportunities, to be completed by 2020, along with the $130m to build 433 new homes over next two years. The National Rental Affordability Scheme is needed, and we see the continuing commitment to that.
“What’s needed to get people from the street into homes is new affordable housing or emergency shelters. The Greens would rather see that than the $12m put into the Disruptive Behaviour Policy.
“Community groups have voiced the need to address the problems of a two speed economy. The rising cost of living is putting the squeeze on family budgets. Some rebates are welcome, but will it be enough when so many are struggling?”