Community groups and local councils in the Victorian electorate of Lalor are still reeling from the impacts of the Abbott Government’s unfair Budget three months after it was handed down in May.
Shadow Minister for Finance Tony Burke was in Lalor today with Federal Member Joanne Ryan to meet with councils and community organisations and hear firsthand the impacts of Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget in the local community, particularly on unemployment.
Unemployment in Melbourne’s West including Lalor jumped to 8.8 per cent in recent months, 2.4 per cent above the national average. Representatives from more than 20 community organisations shared with Mr Burke and Ms Ryan the impacts on the local community.
One participant described it as a “perfect storm” for young people with cuts to support programs including Youth Connections, cuts to apprenticeship support and changes to university fees, which combined with the unfair changes to NewStart will put extreme pressure on local support services.
Health, with a particular focus on mental health, housing and job support programs were also highlighted as major issues. Other Issues raised included:
- Lalor being the worst impacted electorate in Australia by the Gonski cuts,
- More than 10,000 families in Lalor being stung by cuts to childcare,
- An additional $11 million yearly impost as a result of the Government’s GP tax, and
- The hit to family budgets as a result of the Fuel Tax and Lalor families having longer commute times.
Ms Ryan said the Budget had ripped away many support programs for youth: “I am pleased Tony was able to hear firsthand from our local services about the Budget impact. I’m certain he will recount the local impact back in Canberra when Parliament returns in a couple of weeks.”
Mr Burke said he was concerned to hear about the impact on local roads as a result of the Budget measure to pause indexation of the Local Government Assistance Grants program.
“This program makes local roads safer by improving conditions and easing congestion,” Mr Burke said.
“Councils all over Australia are now having to make tough decisions about what they will cut because of the Abbott Government’s unfair Budget. That can only hurt services, roads and jobs.”
Ms Ryan said more than $3.1million had been cut from Wyndham Council over three years as a result of the Budget measure.
“This Budget measure rips out vital money needed for roads and community facilities needed in this high growth area,” Ms Ryan said.