MEDIA RELEASE Zali Steggall MP says the Budget is for the Nationals, not the nation

29 March 2022

Zali Steggall OAM MP says the Government has handed down a budget that sells out the future of Australians in an effort to secure their own.

“This Budget is for the Nationals, not the nation. We now know what it cost Australia to secure Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals support for net zero: $21 billion. Unfortunately, it’s been so expensive to keep the Nationals happy in this budget that there’s very little left over to actually invest in Australia’s transition to net zero.”

“They’re selling out our kids’ futures to try and buy their re-election. This $21 billion does not represent national priority projects, much of it represents Liberal and National priority seats.”

“This budget has neglected many highly recommended transformational measures that would have put Australia on the right track for the future in favour of short-term election sweeteners.”

“Economists keep telling the Government that the national priority should be climate change adaptation and mitigation. Any investment here will reduce enormous costs to the budget in the future.”

“Climate disasters are extremely expensive. Right now, we’re seeing the costs of poor climate planning play out. The floods in Northern New South Wales and Queensland are already costing $6 billion to the budget bottom line this year alone. This enormous cost outstrips the $2.8 billion Black Summer bushfires and $1.5 billion Queensland floods. We can’t continue to blindly react to these events.

“The Prime Minister talk about resilience building but only dedicates $210 million for the Australian Climate Service. There’s almost nothing in this budget to keep our communities safe.”

“If we fail to adapt and mitigate, we will be doomed to repeat a costly cycle of disaster reaction. Judging from this Government’s reaction time to date, this is not a promising budget for Australians on the front line of climate change.”

“This budget favours short-term interventions to ease cost of living come at the expense of wiser long-term alternatives. The Government has chosen to halve the fuel excise for the next 6 months at a cost at least $3 billion, but they have provided nothing in this budget to support a transition to electric vehicles.

“This short-term election sweetener doesn’t do anything to fix the fact Australians rely on 90% imported fuels. With increasing international disruption due to global warming impacts, fuel security becomes fragile, and the long-term impacts on the cost of living cannot be solved by recurring handouts.

“Treasurer Frydenberg in his budget speech dedicated a mere 60 seconds to climate change, in which he continued to spruik unproven and controversial carbon capture and storage and “clean” hydrogen – which is made with gas – so, not clean! It’s another climate embarrassment from this Coalition Government that talks about net zero, but leaves the roadmap blank.”

While the budget commentary has centred around measures to reduce the cost of living Zali Steggall says the long-term outlook on cost of living is dire.

“While cost of living measures will provide some temporary relief, this budget does nothing to prepare Australia for the recurring cost of living shocks that are on their way because of climate change – from food to insurance to fuel.’

“Unprecedented disasters have ravaged Australian communities throughout the term of this Government, and unfortunately it looks like the Treasurer has handed down a budget built on a short memory and an even shorter vision of the future.”

“As the IPCC has clearly warned, recurring climate disasters will begin to overlap in such a way that even advanced economies like Australia’s will be unable to cope.”



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