Australia’s recent recession is unlike any before – but don’t expect the budget to be equally unique | Greg Jericho


The past recession has been unlike any previous ones, but despite this we can expect Tuesday’s budget speech will still be like many of those given in the past six years.

In the 1990s recession and the GFC, the budget story was really about revenue falling through the floor.

In the 1990s revenue went in two years from 24.4% of GDP to 22% of GDP – a 2.2%pt fall, equivalent in today’s terms to around $43bn.

The GFC was even worse – a fall from 25% of GDP to just 21.3% within three years – or having around $74bn a year less revenue to play with.

Those falls coupled with the increases in government spending created the deficits; but this time round revenue is not really an issue.

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Last year the government anticipated a fall similar to the 1990s recession, but the latest government finance figures show the fall has been minimal compared to the massive increase in government spending.

A major reason is that, unlike previous recessions, the job losses this time were much less ongoing than in the past. And a major part of that was the jobkeeper program ensured that job losses were not counted (which was fair enough, as these people were not working, but they were not looking for work either).

Crucially, the jobkeeper payments were also taxed.

Thus Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday has a bit of a different task than previous treasurers who have had to deal with recessions.

He will deliver a record deficit, probably around $180bn for this current financial year, and for 2021-22 probably around $80bn – a massive drop not because of an increase in revenue, but because most of a big pandemic-related expenditure is gone.

And crucially, unless the government waits till May next year, and decide to hold an early budget, this will be the last one before the next election.

So don’t expect language such as Joe Hockey in 2014 when he began his budget speech by saying: “Prosperity isn’t a matter of luck. Prosperity is not a gift. It needs to be earned. So now it is our turn to contribute”.

Frydenberg certainly won’t be repeating Hockey’s suggestion that “the days of borrow and spend must come to an end”.

Most likely he will adopt more of Hockey’s tone in his second budget in 2015 when he tried the more caring line, noting that “as we all know over the past 12 months, Australia has had to deal with its fair share of challenges”.

Perhaps we will see the very election-campaign-directed budget of 2016 when Scott Morrison began by asserting that “it’s not just another budget”, no, “this Budget is an economic plan.”

By 2017 Morrison, now not having to worry about an election had to admit, “many remain frustrated at not getting ahead” and that “Australians have taken second jobs, where they can, so bills can be paid. And it’s been a fair while since most hardworking Australians have had a decent pay rise.”

Guess that 2016 plan hadn’t quite worked (or maybe it had …).

That four years and one election later, the exact same lines could be uttered perhaps goes some way to explaining just how little this Coalition government has been required to do anything.

By 2018 Morrison asserted that “the Australian economy is now pulling out of one of the toughest periods we have faced in generations”.

Well … maybe not.

At least we know Frydenberg won’t be repeating his first budget speech of 2019 which began with the rhetorical flourish that “the Budget is back in the black and Australia is back on track”.

Last year he ended by arguing that “we are a resilient people, a proud nation and we will get through this together”.

I fully expect the speech will be in this spirit, a talk of the need still to live within means; a few words about struggling families and talks of plans and the future … and in a few years some other treasurer will no doubt also be able regurgitate the exact same lines.

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Weekly CEO Update: Mental health reform has become a key budget priority… and rightly so.


As we await next week’s Federal Budget and the anticipated announcements of future funding and program development for our mental health ecosystem, we do so with the recommendations and reports all complete.

In recent years Federal Budgets have been handed down while major inquiries and reports have been pending.

Sure, there have been some good and large investments made during that time, as you’ll see from the quick reflection summary below, but this year’s Budget has the opportunity to define and steer our reform path for the next decade or more.

Reform that has to start with a detailed national agreement as recommended by our Charter 2020 and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, which is due in November of this year.

Reform to ensure the increasing number of Australians who need mental health care will receive it in the right place, at the right time.

And reform that listens to lived experience, innovates beyond established programs and builds accessibility for people not already connected to the system.

As always, the team at Mental Health Australia is looking forward to providing our members and stakeholders with a quick summary of the mental health initiatives in the Budget next Tuesday night, and then further opportunities for deeper analysis and discussion over the following days and weeks.

But before we get to Tuesday, we thought it might be useful to reflect on some of the past budget announcements around mental health and the journey we’ve all been on over the last few years to improve our system through systemic change.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley
CEO


Budget Reflection Summary

In last year’s October 2020-21 Federal Budget, and before the release of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg used his speech to talk about mental health and suicide prevention as a national priority, announcing extensions to telehealth services and that doubling of Better Access through Medicare from 10 to 20 sessions will continue to tackle the increased need as a result of COVID-19.

Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt said in his annual Budget video message to our members and stakeholders that night, these times call for new supports and new ways to build and sustain hope and dignity:

We have a nation that needs new support. And we know that for so many people the other great element of this budget, of job creation, of getting people back to work, isn’t just about economic support, it’s about mental health support. It’s about dignity, it’s about confidence, it’s about helping to reduce anxiety and to give people all of the hope which comes from employment or the prospect of employment.

In the 2019-20 Federal Budget, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Black Summer bushfires, the Treasurer highlighted the importance of mental health reform when he said “It is a national tragedy that we lose so many people to suicide and that so many people live a life of quiet desperation… This issue demands our ongoing attention and resources.”  It was also a budget that saw announcements of some $736.6 million for mental health and suicide prevention in two key areas across 25 specific initiatives over the following seven years.

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget, $338 million of new investment was announced. This represented significant investment in suicide prevention, older Australians and mental health research, as well as funding for the National Mental Health Commission to deliver on the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

The 2017-18 Federal Budget acknowledged and began to address one of mental health’s most critical issues – gaps in psychosocial support services in the community. Treasurer Scott Morrison identified $173 million to be invested in Australia’s mental health, including “$80 million to assist people with severe mental illness resulting in psychosocial disability who are not eligible for the NDIS,” encouraging the states to come on board and tip in a further $80 million.

The 2016-17 Federal Budget included a number of welcome new initiatives for mental health but left uncertainty about how existing reforms would be coordinated and integrated. There was a $40 million investment in veteran’s mental health and suicide prevention, and $800,000 for an online service to address perinatal depression, but at the same time, Australia still had no comprehensive plan to guide the very significant reforms changing the shape of mental health services.

For the 2015-16 Federal Budget our media release headline ‘Mental health awaits government action’ said it all. The Government’s commitments in mental health were made clear ahead of the Budget when they released the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Programmes and Services – indicating that they would establish an Expert Reference Group (ERG) and enter into negotiations with the states and territories to develop the Fifth National Mental Health Plan. 

In the 2014-15 Federal Budget we saw the commitment of $14.9 million over four years to establish ten new headspace sites and $18 million over four years for the establishment of a National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health, to be operated by the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre. Funding for the Mental Health Nurses Incentives Program was extended for 12 months ($23.4 million in 2014-15) and savings from PiR – along with other savings in the health portfolio – were redirected to a new Medical Research Future Fund, which was expected to reach $20 billion by 2019-20. 


Call to scale up climate action to avoid escalating health threats

Mental Health Australia was this week pleased to be able to support an Open Letter to the Prime Minister, along with more than 60 organisations, calling on the Federal Government to scale up emissions reduction strategies to prevent premature deaths and declining health outcomes associated with climate change.

The Open Letter calls for three key actions from the federal government:

  1. Prioritise health in Australia’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement;
  2. Commit to decarbonising the healthcare sector by 2040, and establishing an Australian Sustainable Healthcare Unit; and, 
  3. Implement a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Wellbeing for Australia. 

The Open Letter also coincides with Mental Health Australia releasing our own position statement on the relationship between mental health and climate change.

We are proud to sign the health sector's Open Letter to the Prime Minister to reduce emissions and save lives. #climate health. A list of logos of organisations who are signatories to the letter is included below the text.

 

On Monday we have an all-staff planning day looking at developing our operational planning for the year ahead, especially in relation to our valued membership base. I am also going to be meeting with the Thera Farms team from Tasmania.

On Tuesday we have the Mental Health Australia Board Meeting and then I will be heading into the Treasury briefing/lock-up for the Federal Budget.

On Wednesday I will be launching a local Framework for working with children of parents with a mental illness at the Central Coast Family Support Service in Newcastle.

On Thursday I will be attending a briefing about the health budget components with Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt MP and on Friday we have a meeting with the team at the Society for Mental Health Research.

 

Communicate your news or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.


Member Profiles

Logo. Flourish Australia: where mental wellbeing thrives

Flourish Australia
Flourish Australia supports people with a lived experience of a mental health issue to live, learn and work in the community. We strive to support people to find and create a home, find a job they love, make friends and have a sense of belonging in their local community, and to learn new things. 


WayAhead: Mental Health Association NSW logo. Stick figure person walking with an orange backdrop

WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW
WayAhead We work towards better mental health and wellbeing through: mental health promotion activities, WayAhead Workplaces and Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week, free anxiety support groups throughout NSW, the WayAhead Directory, mental health factsheets, education seminars, and professional development workshops.

Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Workshops
We are pleased to announce that we are holding new workshops on the Framework in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. These free and newly expanded workshops will offer participants an opportunity to learn more about the Framework and hear how services have applied the Framework to their workplace. 
Registrations can be made using the following links:

Due to the developing restrictions in Sydney as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the precautionary decision to postpone the face-to-face Framework Workshop that was planned for next Tuesday, to a date still to be confirmed.

We hope to be able to hold this face-to-face event in the coming weeks or months, and we thank you for your interest and support of the Embrace Multicultural Mental Health Project and the delivery of the Framework. For further enquiries, please contact multicultural@mhaustralia.org

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and Department of Health updated COVID-19 advice and information

ATAGI have reinforced their recommendations on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine and the Chief Medical Officer has also issued a statement on the ATAGI advice. In response, the Department of Health has updated its vaccine information on the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as information for vaccine providers, disability service providers, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Embrace Australia logo (a rectangle with a light and dark purple cultural stripe pattern with "embrace" and stylised outline of the Australian continent in the lower right corner).

Monash to help deliver mental health action program in Australian schools

Australia’s first mental health literacy and action program, which seeks to address the mental health and wellbeing needs of young people at school, is set to be delivered by researchers at Monash University. In addition, the Monash research team involved in the project is seeking expressions of interest from schools across Victoria to take part in this program.

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Centre to help kids traumatised by homicide

Work has started on a new multi-million-dollar residential trauma centre to support children who have lost loved ones through homicide. Grace’s Place will provide counselling to children and young people to help heal their emotional scars. The centre is named in honour of the late Grace Lynch, the mother of murdered nurse Anita Cobby. Grace became a powerful advocate for victims of crime following her daughter’s 1986 murder.

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ACTU, mental health groups and academics call on Cash to back reforms to protect mental health

The ACTU has joined with mental health advocates and academics, releasing a joint statement calling on Minister Michaelia Cash and all Work Health and Safety Ministers to vote to support key reforms recommended in both the Boland Review of Model WHS Laws and the Respect@Work report on sexual harassment in the workplace at an upcoming meeting of state, territory and federal WHS ministers. Both reports, commissioned by the Work Health and Safety Ministers and the Federal Government respectively, recommended the inclusion of a psychological hazard regulations in the Model Work and Health Safety Act. 

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Upstream community-led actions reduce suicide rates by up to 17%

Suicide deaths leave families, friends, workplaces and communities devastated. But a new study conducted by the University of Melbourne for Wesley Mission demonstrates the effectiveness of community Networks to reduce the rate of suicide by seven per cent on average. Longitudinal analyses of national suicide data showed that this pattern of effects was most pronounced nine months after establishing the Network with a significant reduction of 17 per cent in suicide rates. 

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Budget must address mental health crisis

The Greens say fixing Australia’s mental health crisis must be a budget priority. “At the moment mental health care is not accessible, it’s unaffordable, not available and people’s needs are not being met,” Greens spokesperson on Mental Health Senator, Rachel Siewert, said.

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We need to look through a humanitarian lens on India crisis, says psychiatrists

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has called on the Federal Government to consider all options to help Australians stranded in India. RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan, has urged the government to look at this crisis as an opportunity to help Australian citizens. “There needs to be a humanitarian and compassionate lens placed on this disaster by this government, with urgent action on facilitating assistance to these Australians and bringing them home”, said Associate Professor Allan.

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Stories of RAP Impact

Reconciliation Australia invites you to register for their upcoming free webinar series, which will explore the results of the 2020 RAP Impact Report. Each webinar will feature guest speakers from the RAP network sharing their stories of brave and impactful action. You can register to attend one of three sessions. Wednesday 12 May at 11am, Tuesday 18 May at 11am, or Thursday 20 May at 11am.

Shining a light on maternal mental health

World Maternal Mental Health Day draws attention to essential mental health concerns for mothers and families. 1 in 5 new mums will experience perinatal depression and anxiety in Australia each year. Gidget Foundation’s theme for this year highlights the need to invest in maternal mental health, while we emphasise that investment is not limited to financial donation, but can include investing your time, your expertise or simply a reminder to invest in yourself. Please visit Facebook and Instagram to find and share their messages this World Maternal Mental Health Day or donate now to support mums in need. 

Oi, let’s catch up – thanks to the team at Movember

“The last 12 months put us all through the ringer. As we inch our way back to normality, there’s no better time to reach out and reconnect with mates. 1 in 5 Aussies haven’t seen a close mate in 6 months or more. And we know social isolation and loneliness are troubling precursors to depression, anxiety and poor mental health. Movember is asking you to take action. It’s time to pick up the phone, lock in a time and reconnect on Australia’s official day of mateship, MAYEIGHT.”

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Single parents will be offered help to buy their first home in next week’s federal budget



Under the measure announced ahead of Tuesday’s federal budget, up to 10,000 first-time buyers with dependants will be able to access the scheme over four years.

Single parents buying their first home may soon be able to with a deposit of only two per cent under a new federal scheme.

The program allows first home buyers to obtain a loan for a new or newly-built home with a deposit of as little as two per cent with the government guaranteeing up to 18 per cent of the loan.

Under the measure announced ahead of Tuesday’s federal budget, up to 10,000 first-time buyers with dependants will be able to access the scheme over four years.

Minster for Women’s Economic Security Jane Hume says the aim is to make the “great Australian dream” accessible for single mothers.

“We know that so many single parents use so much of their income towards rent and building that deposit is so much harder for them with the demands of children,” she said.

“So this is all about removing those barriers to building that deposit and it’s also about giving those a hand up who need it the most.”

The government has also extended its similar First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to an additional 10,000 buyers.

That scheme allows first-time buyers to build or purchase new homes with a deposit as small as five per cent.

Both measures are designed to fuel construction and boost property ownership, building on the government’s HomeBuilder program, which provided grants of $25,000 for new homes and major renovations.

“The government understands the importance of owning your own home and the significant economic and social benefits home ownership provides,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

However Labor spokesman Jason Clare said it was too little, too late.

“This government has had eight years to fix housing affordability and it’s just got worse,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“What the government’s announced today is not enough to fix this.”

Mr Clare renewed calls to scrap the cap on the number of people able to benefit from the scheme.

More than 100,000 Australians buy a home for the first time every year and the scheme at best helps only 20,000 of them, he said.

Australian Council of Social Services chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie called it a “cheap as chips” measure that will have no impact on struggling single parents.

There has to be more in the budget to help the one in three single parents living in poverty, she said.

“The question will be: is this it,” she said.

“It’ll help a handful … (but) we are still leaving hundreds of thousands of the lowest income, single parents absolutely behind.”

However, the Commonwealth and NAB banks and peak housing industry associations are all fans.

“The new Family Home Guarantee will be a revolution in providing single custodial parents, the overwhelming majority of whom are women, with a step up to gaining the security that comes with home ownership,” Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn said.

In Sydney and NSW regional centres, the schemes are capped at homes worth $950,000, while the rest of the state has a limit of $600,000.

The cap for Melbourne and Victorian regional cities is $850,000 and elsewhere in the state, $550,000.

In Brisbane and Queensland regional centres it is $650,000 falling to $400,000 in country areas.

WA, SA, Tasmania and the NT have state-wide caps of $550,000, while the ACT limit is for dwellings worth $600,000.

More than half the first-home buyers who have accessed the scheme are under 30, while 15 per cent of the guarantees went to people over 40.

Around 85 per cent of people bought a house, with 10 per cent purchasing a unit or apartment and four per cent buying townhouses.

The average annual income for applicants is $70,000 for singles and $115,000 for couples.

The government is also increasing the amount in voluntary superannuation contributions that can be released to buy a first home from $30,000 to $50,000 and providing $124.7 million in extra state funding to bolster public housing stocks.

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As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg focuses on unemployment ahead of the federal budget, one small organisation is having success


For Josey, it was having a proper resume. For another woman (let’s call her Sue), it was having her teeth fixed.

In both instances, it helped them on the path to getting a job.

Josey and Sue had found these hurdles insurmountable for a long time — all it took was a little bit of help from Vanessa Nieuwenhuizen.

In just one year, Vanessa found work for 150 people in and around Logan, one of Queensland’s unemployment hotspots.

“Anyone could walk through the door and say I want a job…. but systems that are robotic will never work,” she explains.

As the leader of Spark Employment, a program run through a community organisation known as YFS, she explains there’s so much more to a job application than just filling out a form.

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Spark Infrastructure’s Victorian power grid budget slashed


He also said the decision maintained confidence that the company can grow its distribution from the 12.5¢ per security and 25 per cent franking,

“No change to guidance at this point does enhance our confidence about distribution going forward,” Mr Francis said.

The AER decision comes as pressure is applied to regulators to rein in the cost of electricity transmission for consumers.

In February, Spark learned its partly owned TransGrid now needs to explore alternative financing options for the proposed $2.4 billion interconnector between South Australia and NSW, after a draft decision by the Australian Energy Market Commission to reject a request to change the rules around the project.

Interconnector project

Mr Francis described the preliminary ruling as “very disappointing” and noted that the 900-kilometre interconnector project, called EnergyConnect, is a priority project in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s blueprint for the grid.

He said on Wednesday no decision has been made to continue with the project despite its SA partner, ElectraNet, declaring it will proceed with its portion of the project.

Spark’s head of Victoria power networks, Tim Rourke, said the final decision by the AER on its Victorian assets was in line with his expectations and he considered the final ruling a successful outcome.

“We really see this an an outcome with very little surprises, a successful outcome … which is terrific when you think about an increase in our final determination compared to the draft,” Mr Rouke said.

The final decision permits Citipower to spend $20 million more on capex to $590 million, but that is still down from $854 million in the prior five-year period. Powercor can spend $142 million more to $1.72 billion on capex, down from $2 billion in the previous five-year period.

Still both companies are allowed to increase operating costs and revenue: Citipower’s revenue take can increase by $60 million to $1.4 billion, just $2 million over the prior corresponding period. Powercorp’s permitted revenue is allowed to increase $209 million to $3.4 billion, which is $200 million more than the previous period,

Permitted operating costs for both companies increased compared to the draft ruling and the prior corresponding five-year period.

The AER accepted Spark’s revised proposal from the December decision, which included an additional $68 million for bushfire insurance and $24 million for reclassification of minor repairs.

The regulator also accepted $148 million capital outlay for the wood pole replacement program, up $44 million from draft determination.

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DOJ Budget Includes $85M Increase to Fight Domestic Terrorism



Attorney General Merrick Garland told House lawmakers Tuesday that the Biden Administration’s 2022 budget request for the Department of Justice (DOJ) would seek an $85 million increase from last year’s budget for domestic terrorism investigations and cases.

“Our budget supports my commitment to protecting our national security, including addressing both international and domestic terrorism while respecting civil liberties.” Garland testified to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science. “It includes increases of $45 million for the FBI domestic terrorism investigations and $40 million for the U.S. attorneys to manage increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.”

The increase from last year’s budget for domestic terrorism cases comes as Democrats have sought to label Trump supporters who protested on January 6 at the Capitol as domestic terrorists, domestic violent extremists, and white supremacists. Committee Chairman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) said at the hearing the “attack on the Capitol” was an “unprecedented” threat from domestic violent extremism.

Garland testified during his confirmation hearing that his first priority as attorney general would be the investigation into January 6. So far, the DOJ has charged more than 400 people as part of that investigation.

Garland also said at Tuesday’s hearing the threat of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism keeps him up at night.

“My oath is to protect the Constitution and Americans from all enemies, both foreign and domestic,” he said. “And so both forms of terrorism are extraordinary concern to me. We never want to take our eyes off of what happened on 9/11 and that the risks that the country continues to face from foreign terrorist attacks on the homeland.”

“Likewise, we have a growing fear of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism and both of those keep me up at night…virtually every morning, I get a briefing from the FBI in one of the other or both areas,” he told the committee.

Committee Ranking Member Robert Aderholt (R-AL) pressed Garland on why the FBI classified the 2017 congressional baseball game shooting that targeted Republican members of Congress as a case of “suicide by cop” instead of domestic terrorism, despite the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence doing so, as previously reported by Breitbart News.

The attorney general said he had not yet had a chance to speak to the FBI about it and promised he would do so.

Garland also said the total budget request seeks to increase the DOJ’s civil rights funding by $33 million, for a total of $209 million for the civil rights division, the community relations service, and related civil rights work. The budget will also include a “historic investment of $1 billion” to support the department’s Office of Violence Against Women.

The DOJ budget request includes an increase of $304 million, for a total of $1.2 billion, for programs that support “community-oriented policing and addressing systemic inequities,” he said.

He also said funding to combat gun violence would increase by $232 million, for community violence intervention programs, to improve background checks, and for more comprehensive red flag laws.

Garland promised the DOJ would step up its work on environmental justice, asserting that “communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal communities often suffer the most harm from environmental crimes and pollution.”

Garland also requested a 21% budget increase for the Executive Office for Immigration Review that will pay for 100 new immigration judges, improved technology, and other “efficiency mechanisms” to reduce a backlog of nearly 1.3 million cases pending before immigration courts.

“I have mentioned only a few of the department’s important programs this morning. I ask your support for our budget as the entire department works to ensure adherence to the rule of law, protection and public safety, and equal justice for all Americans,” he testified.

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook. 



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Greens Budget push to force billionaires & big corporations to return Job Keeper – 16 News


Greens leader Adam Bandt will announce the next steps in the Greens campaign to make the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share today, with a Budget push for the Morrison government to force the billionaires and big corporations who profited from JobKeeper to pay it back.

Launching the campaign in his electorate outside a Harvey Norman store in Richmond, Mr Bandt said the Greens would seek to amend the Budget to effectively force the repayment of JobKeeper by billionaires and big corporations, like billionaire Gerry Harvey’s corporation, who received JobKeeper yet paid dividends, executive bonuses or were otherwise profitable.

Mr Bandt will also outline the details of a campaign by Greens supporters to name and shame the billionaires and big corporations who have profited during the pandemic. Flanked by supporters and holding a giant debt collection notice outside the Harvey Norman store, Mr Bandt will say Greens supporters would be serving debt notices online and outside stores and offices of the billionaires and big corporations.

Mr Bandt will write next week to Crossbench Senators and MPs and Labor to ask for their support for the amendments to the Budget.

A Parliamentary Budget Office costing, commissioned by the Greens, shows that 65 of the big corporations that have made excessive profits or paid out executive bonuses during pandemic would return $1.1 billion to the public if effectively forced to return JobKeeper. This is a low estimate of what could be returned, as the government has not disclosed any comprehensive list of excessively profitable companies who received JobKeeper for inclusion in the PBO costing.

Greens Leader, Adam Bandt said:

“The Greens will make the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share.”

“While everyone else was suffering during the pandemic, billionaires and big corporations took government handouts and got even richer.

“If you’re making enough money to buy a private jet or pay executive bonuses, then you can pay back JobKeeper.

“Billionaire Gerry Harvey doesn’t need public handouts. Australians have shoveled money through the front door of Harvey Norman and the government has shoveled public money through the back door. Big corporations like Harvey Norman should be made to pay JobKeeper back.”

“The PBO estimates over $1 billion dollars has gone to just 65 big corporations who then made big profits, paid dividends or gave out executive bonuses, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“It’s not enough to just ask them to pay back JobKeeper, Parliament has to make them do it. Simply appealing to these billionaires’ better nature won’t work, because they don’t have one.”

“The Greens call on every member of Parliament to back our push to force these billionaires and big corporations to pay back JobKeeper.”

“We will be naming and shaming these corporations with debt collection notices in the coming weeks.”

“JobKeeper was a lifeline for many, but for some billionaires it was another ivory back scratcher.

“Liberals and Labor take donations from billionaires and big corporations, but this is their chance to make them pay back the JobKeeper payments they didn’t need.”

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Federal Budget 2021: Government announces $1.7 billion package to ease childcare costs for working families

Federal Budget 2021: Government announces .7 billion package to ease childcare costs for working families

Federal Budget 2021: Government announces .7 billion package to ease childcare costs for working families

Aussie parents who have at least two kids in childcare are set to receive a boost from the Federal Budget after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled a $1.7 billion package.
Designed to encourage more women back into the workforce after having children, the package will slash out-of-pocket costs for working families with young kids.
From July, the childcare subsidy for families with two or more children aged five and under will increase to a maximum of 95 per cent.
The measure has been forecast to save as many as 250,000 families as much as $2,260 a year.
For example, a family on a combined income of $80,000 with two kids in childcare will save around $54 a week while families on a combined income of $140,000 will be around $125 a week better off.
The current maximum for the childcare subsidy is 85 per cent.
The package is one of a raft of new measures expected to be announced in the 2021 Federal Budget, set to be handed down on May 11.
Speaking to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the entire budget would be aimed at increasing employment opportunities.
“This will be another pandemic budget being delivered in the midst of a once-in-a-hundred year pandemic and just seven months after the last budget,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“The Budget will lay out the next phase of Australia’s economic recovery plan, to grow our economy so we can deliver the jobs and guarantee the essential services Australians rely on, and keep Australians safe.”
Mr Frydenberg said the government’s clear goal was to reduce the unemployment rate below five per cent.
“We first want to drive the unemployment rate down to where it was prior to the pandemic and then even lower. And we want to see that sustained,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“The last time Australia had a sustained period of unemployment below 5 per cent was between 2006 and 2008, just prior to the GFC.
“Before that, you need to go all the way back to the early 1970s.”

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Albury draft budget papers reveal true financial impact of COVID-19 shutdowns | The Border Mail


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Plummeting revenue streams connected to widespread COVID-19 shutdowns has contributed to Albury Council forecasting a rare operating loss next financial year. For the first time since 2012-13 has council projected an overall deficit with loss forecast to be $2.7 million compared to a $5.6 million surplus on a pre-pandemic long-term outlook. But a combination of an increase in depreciation expense and COVID-19 impacts on operations has led to the major turnaround. Budget papers reveal some of the biggest hits to the city’s bottom line in 2020-21. They include $3.5 million loss in airport-related income and $570,000 loss in entertainment centre income with no immediate snap back anticipated in the coming financial year. IN OTHER NEWS Airport operations are still expected to cost $2.5 million and entertainment centre operations will have a $98,000 impact on city finances. The council has also committed to a $500,000 COVID-19 relief fund for the 2021-22 financial year. Depreciation costs amount to $4.5 million due to the revaluation of road and buildings. “With a new financial year approaching, we’ve prepared a draft budget designed and built to power a major economic and social recovery in Albury, following the costly effects of the COVID-19 outbreak,” council chief executive Frank Zaknich said. “Our ongoing recovery will be driven by a budgetary package that will create jobs and investment, enhance our tourism sector, foster business growth and provide a range of facilities and services designed to improve the health and lifestyle of our community. “Mindful that many in our city are still feeling the financial effects of COVID-19, we’ve proposed an average rate rise of 2.3 per cent for residential households and 1.8 per cent for businesses.” The council received around 100 applications and provided financial assistance of almost $40,000 to affected residential rate payers during 2020-21. But with ongoing easing of restrictions and national rollout out of vaccines the hit on council finances is expected to reduce over the next two financial years. The draft budget contains a $63 million capital works budget with about a third of the amount to be spent on water and wastewater projects. A further $11.8 million will be spent on roads, bridges and footpaths. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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Proposed Budget 2021-22 – key projects (Windermere)


Windermere Ward highlights

Lara West –
Eastern Child and Community Centre – $50,000; $10.38m over four years 

Lara Early
Years Library and Community Hub – $620,000 in 2021-22; $19.1m over three years

Corio Football
and Netball / Cricket club facilities upgrade – $330,000 in 2021-22; $3.58m
over two years

Lara Recreation
Reserve master plan stage 1 – $315,000 in 2021-22; $3.14m over two years

Lara Golf Club
water sustainability program – $225,000 in 2021-22; $2.22m over two years

Anakie Football
and Netball Club upgrade – $80,000 in 2021-22; $2m over two years

Patullos Road
East (Lara) road widening / shared path – $777,000 in 2021-22

Labuan Square
renewal project (Norlane) – $125,000 in 2021-22

Moorpanyal Park
master plan (North Shore) – $50,000 in 2021-22; $650,000 over three years

Lara Basketball
Club scoping study – $50,000 in 2021-22

Lara Swimming
Pool early opening – $45,000 in 2021-22; $180,000 over four years

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