Tonight’s Federal Budget must put protecting jobs and investing in Australia at the heart of the Government’s economic strategy, ACTU President Ged Kearney said today.
Ms Kearney said meeting these priorities was more important than a quick return to a surplus.
“The union movement has consistently argued that we should not pursue a surplus at any cost, and that jobs should always come first,” Ms Kearney said. “Australia’s government debt is low by international. Big job losses due to misguided ‘austerity’ being sprouted by the Coalition would be a disaster for workers and their families.”
Ms Kearney said Australian workers wanted the Federal Government to focus on supporting industries, such as manufacturing, that were struggling with the high Australian dollar.
“This Budget should be about protecting jobs in the short-term and making the major investments Australia needs to compete in the 21st century.
“Assisting industries that are being hurt by the high dollar will ensure we retain a diverse economy when the mining boom ends.”
Ms Kearney said that increased funding for schools was important to ensure Australia remained competitive in the future.
“To ensure Australian children can compete in a globalised world they will need the best start on their education. Investing in education at all levels will give all our children a chance.
“The Government has also announced this budget will contain funding for the initial stages of the Disability Care scheme. The lack of resources for Australians with disability is a national shame and a national disability support scheme will deliver real benefits to people with disability. The Federal Government and those states who have signed up deserve credit.”
Ms Kearney will be in Canberra for Budget Day and will be available for comment both before and after the Budget is announced.
Ben Ruse 0409 510 879 or Eleni Hale 0418 793 885