Private: DON’T BE BOUGHT – ETU National Office Media Release re: Federal Budget

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MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The Electrical Trades Union urges Australians not to be bought by the Morrison-Frydenberg budget offering bandaids after years of TAFE/VET cuts and failures on energy and climate change policy.

Over the past six years the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has ripped funding from Australia’s TAFEs and neglected proper energy policy, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg continues that tradition.

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks said Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Frydenbeg’s only plan is to buy their way back to office, but they have no plan for Australia’s future.

“This is a typical Liberal election year budget that offers lots of tax cuts to high-income earners, a few sprinkles for low-income earners and nothing for Australia’s future,” he said.

“Australia needs strong investment in its future. That means investing in our TAFEs and strong policies that give our construction and energy sectors certainty and direction.

“Instead we get another Liberal budget that cuts taxes for high-income earners instead of investing in young people and tomorrow’s Australia and we urge voters not to be duped by it.”

The ETU National Secretary said one of Frydenberg’s biggest budget failures was boasting that a $525 million training package and 80,000 new apprentices would make up for the Liberals’ cuts of more than $3 billion and 150,000 training places since 2013.

“Our TAFEs have been savaged by the Federal Liberals cutting billions and slashing apprentice numbers by 150,000,” Mr Hicks said.

“The treasurer boasted this budget was putting billions into infrastructure, with hardhats and cranes coming across the country.

“But if Frydenberg thinks half-a-billion dollars and 80,000 new apprentices will be enough to make up for years of cuts and continue to build the nation over the coming decade, then his numbers are bad and the whole budget is clearly flawed.

Mr Hicks reminded Australians that when the Liberals overthrew Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Morrison dubbed his new energy minister Angus Taylor the “minister for lowering energy prices” – a task he too has failed on.

“Angus Taylor failed to bring down Australians’ power bills so the they’re sprinkling $75 on single pensioners and $125 on couples to help cover costs but this only proves free-market economics has failed our energy industry,” he said.

“The Liberals’ failure to implement energy and climate policies these past six years, combined with their support for privatising energy networks and power stations is what’s leading to higher prices.

“Instead of trying to fix their mess, Frydenberg wants taxpayer dollars to go to energy companies, ensuring prices and profits remain high.”

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum