Boring boy stuff dominates this Budget: lots of money for road and rail, big  bucks for the super industry, and more public subsidies to boost retirement  income of the better-off, but very little for what may be seen as social  infrastructure. Those who gained and lost illustrate the lack of concern this government really has for their version of “working families”.

Why give tax cuts to those with up to $20,000 in the bank, just because the other people can fiddle their taxes with inequitable CGT and super concessions?

Why give a $1000 tax deduction in 2013 to all taxpayers who don’t claim work-related expenses? Maybe many don’t have them!

Why continue with tax cuts promised in 2007 that give most money to high-income earners. Some promises maybe should be broken, and I’m sure most people would not have missed them. Over four years, someone on $20,000 will gain $332, while on $200,000, they gain $1800.

There are many other small cuts and changes that surprisingly target low-income households, individuals and programs that serve them:

Why peg the small co-payment to low income super contributors at $1000, when it was cut from $1500 as a temporary saving last year? Super is very much a rich man’s tax avoidance scheme and this small boost has now been permanently reduced.

Why tighten up the eligibility rules for disability support pensions, just when many sole parents, who manage parenting and disability, move from parenting payments??  How will they cope with demands that they find paid work and maybe lose eligibility under new rules?

Why make it tougher on low-income families with recalcitrant teenagers by cutting out Family Tax Benefit Part A, if their 16-20-year-old is not participating in education or training?

There is nothing for those on welfare benefits such as the unemployed, even though they now trail pensioners by up to $100 per week. There are assumptions that with training they will get jobs but it ignores the difficulties faced by older people, those with minor disabilities or sole parents. Many who lost jobs in the past couple of years are still looking and can’t live on the money available.

There is little there for women who try and balance work and family pressures. Nor is there any commitment to making changes to entrenched inequalities such as low wages paid in care areas to mainly women workers. There is no allocation of extra funding for workers in aged care or community services who currently have cases under the Fair Work Act.

Why cut the child care tax rebate to $7500 and remove indexation, including the current year’s grant, when fees are rising because of unfunded quality demands?

Why cut out the $1500 start-up grant for new family day care, which is already having difficulty recruiting carers?

Why is the only mention of the time pressures and work-life balance in Wayne Swan’s description of the  “tick and flick” tax returns system as “this means less time with the tax pack and more times with loved ones.”

Why cuts staff at the Family Court: to save $10.5 million over four years by not proceeding with filling four vacancies for judicial officers by claiming an unlikely “expected reduction in the workload and improved administrative systems”. Waiting times are already very long.

This no frills Budget managed to find some unworthy goodies for those the government wants to woo. They need to remember that there are increasing numbers of voters who have been Labor supporters and now don’t trust the government. Little in this Budget will please them, even if the budget is praised by economics commentators.  Most of them, as wealthy males, vote self-interested Liberal anyhow!

Peter Fray

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