8 May 2007
Despite record tax revenues the Howard Government has consistently failed for a decade to invest in Australia's long term future through building up infrastructure and investing in education and skill development says IEUA Federal Secretary Lynne Rolley.
"While Australian workers will welcome their tax cuts, the fact is that workers are now paying more and more tax dollars to the Australian government" said IEUA Federal Secretary Lynne Rolley.
"And what is disappointing for many workers is that instead of investing our taxes in much needed services such as health, education, childcare, aged care or important national infrastructure, most years the Howard government gives back some small amount (enough for a sandwich and a milkshake according to Amanda) in a tax cut, said Ms Rolley.
"Our members tell us they would rather see such tax cuts used collectively to lift education and health services in Indigenous and rural communities or to improve dental services for children and the elderly" she said.
"Despite record tax revenues the Howard Government has consistently failed for a decade to invest in Australia's long term future through building up infrastructure and investing in education and skill development" she said.
Despite the Federal Government's tax windfalls in recent years, ACTU research has shown that education and training has suffered eleven years of neglect under the Howard Government. Australia is the only OECD country to have cut public investment in tertiary education by 7 per cent since 1995 while other countries have had an average increase of 48 per cent. "Our students have every right to expect that the Federal Government invests in both social and economic infrastructure to ensure that high quality, high wage jobs are available to them" said Ms Rolley.
"The Government revised its revenue forecast recently by $2 billion and it appears that it should have lifted it by $6 billion" she said "And that extra money isn't coming from company tax, despite ever larger profits, that revenue is under budget" "It is Australian workers who are contributing and lower and middle income earners are paying an even greater share than ever before"
"This is on top of an unfair WorkChoices regime that has seen hundreds of thousands of workers placed on AWAs with loss of penalty, overtime and shift allowances and the removal of conditions" said Ms Rolley.
"The fact is that full time workers take home-pay has gone down by 0.9% in real terms over the past year following the introduction of the WorkChoices IR laws."
"Disturbingly and despite Mr Howard's announcement that that WorkChoices would ‘unleash a new burst of productivity growth', the opposite is true. In the 1990s the growth rate was 2.6 per cent per annum, it then fell to 2.1 per cent in 2000 and since 2003, it has fallen to 1 per cent," she said
"In the last three quarters of last year, in other words since the introduction of the WorkChoices laws, Australia's labour productivity growth slowed to zero." "The Australian community and in particular our students deserve much better" said Ms Rolley.
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