MEDIA – Transcript – ABC Radio Darwin – Mornings – What’s in the federal budget for the NT?
CANBERRA – 12 May, 2021
JOLENE LAVERTY, HOST: A lot of very big numbers were thrown around last night as the federal Treasurer delivered the budget. And it forecasts the decade of deficits and debt that’s set to peak around one trillion dollars in 2025, with lots of winners, the beneficiaries of some of those big numbers. The Member for Solomon is Luke Gosling. What’s your response to the budget that was handed down last night?
LUKE GOSLING, MEMBER FOR SOLOMON: Morning, Jo and Adam. One thing I noticed about the Government is when the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was announcing it, they were as flat as a tack. And I guess it’s because this is a pre-election budget, and they’ve been in Government for eight years and their own members have heard it all before, and know that the big numbers don’t really mean that much because they never deliver what they say they’re going to deliver. And if you consider that the last budget’s centrepiece was a thing called JobMaker, which promised 450,000 jobs – and reports are they going to scrap it because they’ve only managed to support 1,100 jobs. That’s a big difference. And when they said they would invest $4 billion in JobMaker and they’ve only invested $1.7 million – and that was the centrepiece of their budget last year – I think people just sort of go, “well, we’ll see what actually happens on the ground”. And it’s pretty clear that it’s a budget to make people think that they’re going to be looked after and then to get them through to the election, and then who knows what they’ll do after that depending on the outcome.
LAVERTY: Examples like JobMaker, though, these were responses to times in which we’ve we have never seen before. In fact, the world’s never seen these kind of conditions that we’re living through at the moment. And the Government created these things to try and incentivise work, try and keep the economy going. And some things worked, some things didn’t work. Can you really just hinge the entire success of the economy based on one thing that didn’t work?
GOSLING: No, I was just giving you one example, Jo, but that was the centrepiece of their budget last year. But you can look at anything. You can look at Kakadu funding that they’ve been promising for ages. There’s no money in the budget for the Veterans Wellbeing Centre that was promised at the last election. So you do start to wonder what their commitment is. And it’s just pretty clear that they’re good on the announcement – they announce a lot of stuff and then they kind of drop it and move on to the next announcement and there’s no follow-through. That’s my observation.
But at the same time, there are some positive things I think that came out of the Budget. There’s obviously got to be more assistance for young people to get into work, and the Chief Minister’s identified that. But, you know, there’s 150,000 less apprentices then than there was when Labor was last in federal government. So we’ve lost 150,000 young Territorians and young Victorians all around the country that haven’t had those opportunities because of cuts to TAFE and cuts to that apprentice sector.
So whilst there is some there is some good news, I think a lot of this budget is making up for the cuts of the past, whether it be in aged care or elsewhere. And as I said, it’s designed for the next federal election. But I think Territorians will make up their own mind on whether they can be trusted to put into action what they’ve announced last night.
LAVERTY: There is a microscope going over what is in it for women in particular. And what’s your view on how they’ve addressed what women need and what women want?
GOSLING: Well, I think the first thing to say is they’ve been forced into it through cover-ups of sexual assaults, sex scandals, and just a basic misunderstanding or a lack of care in the challenges faced by not only working women – and we’ve seen that in the in the pittance given for the Working Women’s Centre in the NT – but also just for women’s safety in general, and domestic violence. And we really need to see that it’s real. And again, we’ve seen a budget that hasn’t really done enough when it comes to childcare, so those challenges for working women, not only in the harassment space and the need to implement the recommendations from the Respect@Work report that Kate Jenkins did, but also acknowledging that it’s a really difficult balance for families, working families.
And the biggest thing, I guess, Jo, from this budget, is it admits that wages are going nowhere. So while the cost of everything is going up for working families, Territorians, and just working Territorians in general, the wages aren’t going up. And that’s what I would have liked to have seen in the budget, is more of a focus on people. And I guess that’s why that’s important that, you know, we’re also putting out – slowly but surely, Albo’s putting out – our policies for the future to get more jobs, full-time jobs that people can live on.
LAVERTY: Luke Gosling, thank you so much for your time today.
GOSLING: Thank you, Jo.