NSW Budget: Community is short-changed by budget evaluated on dollars and cents alone

The NSW Greens have criticised today’s NSW State Budget for lacking vision, ignoring environment and climate change, barely playing catch-up on services investment and failing to plan for the long-term wellbeing of the NSW community.

NSW Greens MLC and Treasury spokesperson Justin Field said, “We shortchange the community and environment if the NSW Budget is evaluated in dollar and cents alone.

“Today’s budget is built on a decade of privatisations that have increased the costs of living and delayed critical action to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and respond to climate disruption.

“This NSW budget barely plays catch up on the cuts and under-investment in education and community services over the past eight years of this Government. It fails to address housing affordability and ignores growing environmental pressure and climate risks.

“An over-reliance on the dirty profits from coal mining and a fall in stamp duty revenues points to a future revenue squeeze. We need to start a conversation now about how NSW will fund the services of the future and reduce the state’s reliance on uncertain stamp-duty revenues. Broadening the land tax base is an important reform that needs to be part of the public debate in NSW and has strong support from economists around the country.

“Fundamentally this budget doesn’t seek to measure and address what’s really important in people’s lives. It doesn’t reflect whether people feel empowered as citizens to engage in community life or evaluate the health of our environment such as clean air, healthy rivers and fertile soil.

“While other countries are moving to measure and improve community wellbeing, the NSW Government continues its focus on privatisations, efficiency dividends, and a corporatised model of Government that is failing to deliver for the citizens of this state.    

“This budget locks in privatised roads, wasteful sport stadium rebuilds and does little to address the high barriers to home ownership, continues growing inequality and has no plan for creating a more fair and caring society.  

“The Greens take the view that our economy should serve people rather than the other way around.

“The Greens will introduce a Bill to Parliament later this year, the Wellbeing Indicators Bill 2018, that will for the first time measure and promote the wellbeing of people, communities and nature across the state.

“The insights provided by this new wellbeing index will help evaluate the effectiveness of the economy and budget to deliver a better life for people and communities, with no one left behind.

“This is a model of allocating resources and directing the efforts of Government that is increasingly embraced around the world that ensures all of our collective assets, human, natural, social and financial, are preserved,  enhanced and directed towards improving the wellbeing for all citizens,” he said.

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