Budget: the glaring omissions


$58.6 million went to SBS, AAP, community broadcasting and the media regulator but the ABC’s funding will drop by $10 million for 2021-22.

Former ABC bureaucrat, Michael Ward says the ABC will have lost $1 billion in the decade to 2024.

Funding for regional news, local content and Australian children’s programs is extremely important. However, it is hard to understand the decision to continue to exclude the ABC from these arrangements.

Quarantine facilities

No funding for purpose-built quarantine even though this is arguably a Commonwealth responsibility and the only safe way for the many Australians overseas who want to come home. Presumably we continue to rely on unsuitable hotel quarantine for those who can’t be accommodated at Howard Springs in the NT.

Action on climate

For the next four years, wait for it… $30 million for one big battery and a microgrid for NT and $19.3 million for a microgrid in the Daintree. So-called low emissions technology gets $639 million – to prop up unviable carbon capture mostly. It’s beyond all reason.

Affordable housing

Nothing to see here other than an extension of the HomeBuilder construction commencement period, extra places in the New and Family Home guarantees, a small incentive for retirees to sell their home and a 2% deposit for single parents. Housing experts say these kinds of measures push house prices up.   What’s needed are many more new, affordable houses and apartments for first home buyers.

What happened to the very fast train? 

$15.2 billion sounds like a dizzying amount of money to spent but the big-ticket infrastructure is almost all roads, much of it announced previously.

The National Faster Rail Agency was set up in 2019 and bite-sized projects like fast rail from Melbourne to Geelong and Brisbane to the Gold Coast are still in the early planning stages. The rest are well off in the distance.

Dig down in the budget papers to see that spending on infrastructure decreased by $188.7m in 2020-21 compared with last year’s budget, and is projected to fall by $3.3bn over the four years to 2023-24. $217 million will be wasted in the NT on roads to the gas extraction businesses in the Beetaloo Sub-station.

New migrants

While everyone is calling for more fruit-pickers, chefs, aged care workers, etc. the Government decided to save $671 over 5 years on no welfare, eg. newstart, carer allowance, austudy, parenting payment, sickness allowance etc. for the next four years for new arrivals.


With borders set to remain closed until mid 2022 the Government is not repeating the assistance of $60 million given to tourism operators last year. With JobKeeper gone we can expect many to go to the wall. Tourists who come here to also work are largely shut out with implications for filling jobs in agriculture, hospitality and other low-paying sectors.

Too late to train our own unemployed?

Share this: