"The Gillard Government's plan to balance the books by imposing a higher ‘efficiency dividend', a tired euphemism for public sector cuts, is short-sighted and driven by political constraints," Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.
"The push by both major parties to cling to a wafer-thin political surplus while advocating public sector job losses and cuts to services is contrary to reasonable, forward-thinking economic advice," Senator Brown said in Canberra, responding to the Government's budget update.
"The budget can be balanced over the cycle without cutting jobs or worthwhile programmes."
"Assisted by costings provided by the Treasury, the Greens have identified $9 billion in fossil fuel subsidies that could be redirected towards jobs and services - a far better option than cutting $1 billion from education. Savings in education would be better redirected to areas of need including science and Asian languages."
"Almost doubling university HECS fees for maths and science students is a mistake. Science and innovation is the key to our nation's economic prosperity and we should be doing all we can to increase participation in science learning. The $400 million saving is a false economy if it means the best and the brightest of our kids don't make the move into maths and science at university."
"If the global economy deteriorates further there could be a need for a stimulus package. The major parties need to take responsibility for the impact that fiscal policy, including their pursuit of a political surplus, has on the economy."
"We support an end to the tax breaks for corporate executives - an unnecessary charge on the public purse. We also support the deferral of the reduction in interest withholding tax paid by financial institutions - achieved by the Greens as part of the mining tax negotiations."
"The Greens have worked hard to protect the cultural institutions. They are exempt from the latest ‘efficiency dividend', but they still need relief from the previous round. The Government can do better."