MEDIA RESPONSE: Federal Budget 2022

The following may be attributed to Ms Adrienne Picone, CEO, TasCOSS:

  • While this budget demonstrates a significant change in approach towards building a more inclusive society, there is very little by way of immediate relief which will help Tasmanians struggling with the ever-increasing costs of living. 
  • Housing is a fundamental human right and it was pleasing to see a strong commitment to fast-tracking the delivery of more social and affordable homes at the heart of this budget. Right now, thousands of Tasmanians are being denied their right to shelter and are spending well over a year waiting for a home.  
  • Research shows building new homes is not a simple panacea when it comes to solving our housing woes. We urge the Government to take further action to support Tasmanians to remain in the private rental market, including by extending the National Rental Affordability Scheme and increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance. This must be a priority with rental vacancy rates less than 1%. 
  • Disappointingly, the Government squandered the opportunity to remedy one of the greatest blights on our country: our woefully inadequate and punitive social safety net. Raising the rate of JobSeeker and related payments to at least $73 a day would have enabled Tasmanians to live with dignity and afford the essentials.   
  • While the announcement of $560 investment in Commonwealth-funded community services is welcome, it points to a much larger issue of chronic underfunding from governments at both levels. We continue to call for governments to increase the level of investment in essential community services in the longer term. 
  • There were some notable, positive announcements in the budget. $1.3 billion for women’s safety and initiatives is integral, and indicative of a Government committed to ending the scourge of violence against women and children. Reduced cost for medicines under the PBS is timely given the cost of living challenges Tasmanians are facing, with Tasmanians telling us each and every day that they forgo medicines because of cost. 
  • There is not enough being done to combat rising electricity costs at a federal level, with our bills still the highest in the country and the number of Tasmanians in energy debt, and the amount of that debt, continuing to grow.