Unions react to budget: slam cuts to welfare, public service jobs
Unions have slammed many aspects of the Coalition budget, released on May 13. Below, leaders of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Community and Public Sector Union respond.
GED KEARNEY, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS
"The Abbott government's assault on welfare, Medicare, education and the public sector represents the end of the fair go and the biggest attack on the social wage this country has ever seen.
"This is a savage attack on the standard of living that Australians have worked hard for. The Liberal government vision is of a harsher, less equal Australia.
"Universal health care is over with the introduction of a Medicare co-payment which will put pressure on low-income families for whom going to the doctor will now become a financial decision.
"They are cutting the real value of all pensions — including the age and disability support pensions, and single parents' payment — which in today's terms, will be a cut of about $200 a fortnight by 2030 to those people who can least afford it.
"In a disgraceful move, young job seekers will need to participate in job search and employment services for six months before they can begin receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance that will leave these people in poverty.
"Abbott said he would create one million new jobs. Instead today he has flagged cutting 16,500 pubic servants and has ripped hundreds of millions out of skills and innovation.
"They've delivered to big business in the form of a 1.5% company cut tax cut; they're still giving over $4 billion worth of subsidies to the big miners.
"The Commission of Audit report gave Australians a glimpse of what the Liberals have planned for Australia. the budget is a down payment on that plan.
NADINE FLOOD, NATIONAL SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR UNION
"Tony Abbott's budget is a wrecking ball that smashes jobs and services. There are 16,500 jobs on the chopping block, with over 7300 to go right now.
"This budget is a con job. Step one, they pretend the public service is bigger than it is. Step two, they run down the public service through cuts. Step three, they sell it off to their big business mates.
"The only real winners in this budget are multinational corporations, who will be lining up to run public services for a profit.
"Abbott has smashed his promise to public sector workers that they would not get sacked. He promised no more than 12,000 job cuts over two years and through natural attrition. He also promised not to cut the ABC and the CSIRO.
"Ripping $35.5 million out of the ABC, closing the Australia Network and cutting $8 million for SBS will do enormous damage to our national broadcasters.
"It's a myth that you can cut this many jobs and not affect services. Australia has an efficient public service, already groaning after previous cuts.
"Hidden in these budget figures is the real story that the public service has already been cut this year by 2695 jobs. So there will be over 10,000 jobs gone by the end of next year.
"Cutting 2300 tax workers is not going to help us collect the revenue Australia needs for essential services. Cutting 500 CSIRO staff will not help us come up with the world-class innovations we need for globally competitive industries.”