Greens Senator for Tasmania, Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments on the 2015-16 Federal Budget.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “This budget has put off a number of major strategic decisions that urgently need to be made to secure Tasmania’s future. It has failed to provide any vision for Tasmania and leaves key sectors of our economy underfunded.
“The Government has failed to provide certainty for the University of Tasmania, including staff and students, by retaining its commitment to fee deregulation now scheduled to start on the 1st of January, 2016.
“We know that fee deregulation means higher fees, fewer courses and campus closures right across Tasmania. By committing to fee deregulation, the Liberals are stalling the critical educational advancement of Tasmania.
“The Liberal government was also handed the 20-Year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan report seven months ago, but the budget has failed to provide funds to deliver on any of the key recommendations in the plan.
“The review called for an increase in Antarctic operational funding, long-term funding horizons for science and a refit to the Hobart Port, none of which was delivered in the Federal Budget.
“Without a government response to the 20-year Australian Antarctic Strategic Plan report and accompanying funding, the entire sector’s future is still in flux.
“Finally, the Federal Government still hasn’t made decisions regarding Cadbury’s tourism funding. This indicates that they are holding off making an announcement until an election, suggesting they are more interested in politicking than they are in strategic investment in the state.
“The key sales pitch seems to be around a failed job incentive program and a re-branded small business package very similar to the one they just ripped up 12 months ago,” he concluded.