Budget / Unions disappointed at lack of workplace action

THE ACT Budget is a disappointment for working people who expected genuine action from the government on wage-theft, workplace safety and job security, UnionsACT said today (May 7). 

Alex White

UnionsACT secretary Alex White.

“The Budget is a disappointing missed opportunity that demonstrates misplaced priorities,” says secretary Alex White.

“The Budget buys into the failed notion of trickle-down economics: delivering substantial tax and transfer benefits for big business, while public services and community supports continue to be stretched to their limit.

“There is no funding for action on critical issues of improving workplace safety, job security, or stopping the epidemic of wage-theft.”

“Buried in the Budget is a regressive vanity measure to hand $5 million to an unaccountable corporate-run “charity” under the name of the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund. This demonstrates the misplaced priorities of the Budget, at a time when contractors are telling unions the ACT government will not increase funding to pay for collective bargaining or decent wages.”

He said increased investments in some public and health service areas were due to strong advocacy by unions. But the Budget continued an aggressive system of tax giveaways to big businesses for sports stadiums and property development, while failing to properly fund programs for the most needy.

The Budget also continued a regressive agenda of increasing fixed elements of charges and levies, including higher speeding and parking fines, that disproportionately and negatively affected people on low-incomes.

In summary UnionsACT said the ACT Budget disappointed or failed on:

 Addressing job security and chronic workloads problems in the ACT public sector, including continued reliance on exploitative labour hire.

 Workplace safety: no new funds for an independent Work Safe authority, no new funds for additional permanent Work Safety inspectors.

 Providing job security for light rail workers: hundreds of light rail construction workers may lose their jobs because of the failure to plan for bridging work on the Stage 2 extension.

 Wage theft: no resources to genuinely tackle the over 40 per cent of Canberra businesses that commit wage-theft or other breaches against workers.

 Making corporations and developers pay their fair share: large tax and charge remissions such as the lease variation charge locked in for future years.

 Regressive flat taxes and charges continue to increase: including the Fire & Emergency Services Levy and Motor Vehicle Registration.

 

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