Jenny Leong MP on the State Budget

Next week the Treasurer will be handing down the state budget and Jenny Leong MP highlighted the need for a budget that addresses the current health crisis and the climate crisis as well as putting well-being, sustainability and equality of access for everyone in our community at its core.



"Next week the Treasurer will hand down the budget which will give us a clear understanding of where this Government's priorities lie and what choices it has made. People in the electorate of Newtown, and indeed across the entire State, have never known such uncertain economic times. We have not faced such dire economic circumstances since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The decisions the Government makes in this budget are crucial. For many, they will be the difference between surviving or becoming destitute, between being able to live well or being overwhelmed with pressure and anxiety. Budgets are about people. They are not about bolstering tax breaks for big business or funding global corporates. They are not just arbitrary tables of numbers. They are conscious choices that impact people's lives.

This budget must provide for all people to ensure that no‑one is too poor to live; to ensure they will have a roof over their heads, despite losing their jobs; and to give them the wraparound care when they have been left without support. This budget needs to be about doing what governments are meant to do: serving the people and making sure the community is looked after, especially those who are most vulnerable. That means everyone living in New South Wales, including anyone who is on a humanitarian visa or a student visa or any other visa that allows them to live, work or study here. Those people have been abandoned during the pandemic by the State and Federal governments. This is State‑sanctioned cruelty and it must stop. Everyone should be able to afford to live and live well. Everyone should have a roof over their heads. During this pandemic many people experiencing homelessness were housed and supported according to their needs. If we did it then, we can do it now. We can build public housing and invest in public housing, 30,000 homes every year for the next 10 years, providing shelter for people who need it and finally getting rid of the massive public housing waiting list. Much needed jobs will be delivered while we build these homes.

We can deliver affordable housing to counter the huge spike in rental stress, which will increase throughout 2021 as millions of people are moved onto inadequate JobSeeker payments. We are calling for 100 per cent social and affordable housing on public land and for the Government to audit all available State land and properties with a view to fast-tracking publicly owned housing that people can afford. We need to build zero emissions housing and retrofit existing housing. These are the homes we need in the twenty-first century. A budget at its core is a moral and ethical framework. A budget is about choices. We need to choose compassion and dignity and provide people with what they need to live with dignity and to live well. The Government's job today is to use every mechanism at its disposal to provide essential support to those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. Because of this pandemic, that is a huge growing number of people in this State. We have to have a budget that deals with this health crisis and with the climate crisis as well as creating a budget that puts wellbeing, sustainability and equality of access for everyone in our community at its core so that no‑one is left out as we face the enormous difficulties that are upon us."

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