The delivery of the 2011/12 Federal Budget was perhaps one of the least anticipated events on the political calendar, with little joy expected, especially for those struggling on an Age Pension or low income. However, that did not dissipate the excitement of attending the budget lock-up in Canberra for the first time.
Banks of computers were a symbol of the media’s interest in what exactly Wayne Swan would deliver in his fourth budget. With much of the contents divulged before hand, the devil was indeed in the detail.
I now understand how politics and government works – give people more paperwork and information than they can handle and hopefully much of the budget pain would be missed. However, with very little in the way of economic surprises on offer, finding the key points of interest wasn’t so difficult.
I do not claim to understand fiscal policy. However, I do have a basic understanding of economics and this budget was not a reflection of the economic uncertainty facing everyday Australians.
By the 2012/13 budget, the coffers will have been returned to surplus but will that fact comfort 2.5 million Australians on an Age Pension struggling to make ends meet?
More people are in the workforce than ever before and this will keep our economy strong. This is of little interest to those who can no longer work or who are penalised for doing so by a reduction of Age Pension.
With cost of living pressures on the increase it is difficult to understand how a measly $6 per week delivered through the tax system will help low income earners.
All in all, whilst it is commendable to have money in the bank, the Government surely have to realise that people are doing it tough. Measures to help people back to work are also to be commended but, one would question whether this will actually deliver more money to the pockets of those who need it most.