Victoria’s Budget Unveiled: The losers should have been winners

15 May, 2024

Victoria’s budget has emerged into the limelight, revealing itself as a casualty of past decisions. While the lockdown may have lifted, its repercussions linger in Victoria more prominently than in any other state.

Critics argue that the aftermath has been exacerbated by the Jacinta Allan government, which maintains its predecessor’s negative stance towards business and indifference to high levels of debt and taxation. For hardworking Victorians, this translates into economic hardship.

At the heart of this latest budget lies a hefty bill of nearly $600 million for not hosting the Commonwealth Games, along with costly and contentious infrastructure ventures such as the $14 billion Metro Tunnel and the $34 billion Suburban Rail Loop. The daily interest payment to service the state’s burgeoning debt, poised to hit $190 billion by 2027, stands at almost $26 million—a staggering figure that reflects an extraordinary increase from just a decade ago.

Due to fiscal pressures, promised spending on mental health and new community hospital projects has been postponed, despite last year’s tax hikes on businesses to cover Covid-related expenses. This move has led to accusations of an “anti-business sentiment,” with former Premier Jeff Kennett condemning the budget as socially corrupt for burdening the most vulnerable citizens.

The budget does offer some relief measures, including a $400 bonus per child for parents with children in government schools or holding concession cards. Victims of family violence will receive support through increased tracking of alleged perpetrators and enhanced information-sharing among frontline staff. Teachers will benefit from a $140 million package, while Jewish and Islam-affiliated schools can apply for grants to improve safety and security.

However, the burden of the state’s debt will fall heavily on future generations, with net debt forecasted to soar to $187.8 billion by 2027-28. Casual workers lose out as sick pay eligibility is curtailed, and major projects like the $10 billion Airport Rail Link face delays. Parents with young children will feel the slowdown in childcare center rollouts and funded pre-prep programs.

As the budget unveils winners and losers, questions linger about its impact on Victoria’s economy. The role of government taxes and charges on job providers and businesses should have been a focus, as they are crucial to building a brighter future. In the midst of Victoria’s economic woes, one wonders whether the winners of this budget will indeed contribute to its recovery.

When water leaks from the ceiling of your house, simply rearranging the furniture won’t suffice; you need to address the root issue and fix it. Similarly, in this scenario, the “ceiling” represents our businesses, regardless of their size.


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