From a 'dangerous' lack of DV spending to foreign aid cuts & little for women, this budget bites

From a ‘dangerous’ lack of DV spending to foreign aid cuts & little for women, this budget bites

You probably heard there’s a tax cut on offer for many Australians in the 2018 Budget.

We reckon that’s about where the joy in this budget ends.

It’s also a limited joy, at $530 a year or $10 a week for middle income earning Australians, and you’ll be waiting over a year before receiving it.

The above is also only if you earn more than $37,000 a year, otherwise you’re looking at $200. And I won’t horrify you with the puny amount that is per week.

But tax breaks do the talking in a (likely) election year, and so tax breaks it is.

More extensive tax breaks are slated for later on. By 2024-25, Australians earning between $41,000 and $200,000 will pay the same tax rate, creating savings for more than 90 per cent of us, but one that will vary by thousands of dollars depending on what you earn. Also did I mention the year 2024? That’s two elections away. Who knows what we will be dealing with by then, although I could take a guess and suggest more devastating consequences of climate change in our region could be on the cards.

As for issues outside of major tax reforms, they don’t do the talking.

Like spending on domestic violence focussed services, which appear to have received a tiny $18.2 million, as part of a broader $54.4 million package. That full package is still a small amount when you consider the vast range of things it aims to take on, including elder abuse and cybersafety.

Spending on foreign aid has also taken a hit, cut by $140 million in real terms, or ‘frozen’ at $4 billion a year.

But the controversial school chaplaincy program? That will receive $250 million over four years.

I’ll remind you again of that Domestic Violence figure: $18.2 million.

That’s despite the fact Treasurer Scott Morrison listed “keep Australians safe” as one of five priority areas for strengthening our economy, although he did include the caveat such safety would come from “new investments to secure our borders.”

Fair Agenda’s Renee Carr labelled the lack of further investment in DV services as  ‘disappointing and dangerous’, especially in the context of more requests bring made for help following DV and family violence in the past year, according to research by AIHW.

As for our foreign aid spending, it helps to compare our commitment to our friends across the ditch, who just hours prior to the release of our budget last night announced an additional $667 million foreign aid spend for countries in the Pacific.

By the year 2021 to 2022, our aid budget will be just 19 cents in every $100 of gross national income, an all-time low.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning we heard that a ‘significant’ spend would be announced for women, with more than $100 million set aside in the contingency reserves of the budget for an economic security statement to be delivered in September.

The Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer has since confirmed with Women’s Agenda that a raft of practical measures to help women return to work and build economic security will be announced.

We’re looking forward to learning more.

Still, women didn’t rate a mention in the Treasurer’s budget speech.

But then again neither did ‘climate change’ or ‘foreign aid’ or ‘domestic violence’.

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