Appropriation (2023-2024) Bill 2023 Second Reading

30 May 2023

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Given the hour I suspect I will have to make some more substantive remarks when the take-note motion comes around, but in the time I do have I will say that this is a budget that was handed down at an incredibly difficult time for so many Victorians struggling with the skyrocketing cost of living, struggling with paying the rent and affording their own home, struggling to access affordable health care – so many people being pushed to the margins of homelessness and into poverty, and this was a budget that needed to go to the heart of those issues to address the massive social challenges that are affecting so many Victorians, particularly young Victorians. But the reality is with this budget everyday Victorians who are struggling are going to be worse off. This is a budget that needed to go to the heart of those issues, but instead people are going to be worse off under this budget. Instead of helping, workers and people in need are going to be hurt.

People cannot wait more years until this is addressed. I mean, let us just look at renters facing another year of massive rent increases, but as usual – as typical – there is stuff-all for renters in this year’s budget. You have got people who are just one rent rise away from homelessness. You have got 30,000 people experiencing homelessness every single night, but you have got four times as much money going into the racing industry as is going into people experiencing homelessness. You have got people waiting years to access public housing – 120,000 people on the public housing waiting list and growing, but no new money for public or affordable housing. These things will only continue to get worse with this budget. People cannot afford for things to get worse before there is any prospect of them getting better. Without significant government interventions more people are going to be pushed into poverty, pushed into crisis, seeking help at already stretched homelessness services, food relief and emergency wards – more people on the margins, more into poverty, more suffering housing stress, more people experiencing homelessness.

The reality is we can have the sort of society that we want to live in. We can put an end to poverty. We can put an end to homelessness. We can make sure everyone has got a safe, secure place – and I should say affordable place – to call home; make sure that people can get access to the health care that they need, affordable health care; and make sure that people have well paid, secure jobs. This is a budget that cuts thousands of public sector workers, just after we spent so long saying thank you to our essential workers. This budget is now sacking them at a time of low wage growth, and they are still persisting with the wage cap at a time when we have got workers suffering one of the biggest real wage cuts in history. And we can ensure that there is a planet for everyone to live on in the future. That is what the Greens are fighting for, and I will have more to say on the take-note motion.

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