and we have, as always, been warned to prepare for a "very tight" or even "horror" budget. This time the predictions may be a little more accurate than usual. The government has been wasting money, especially on things like the home insulation scheme, asylum seeker policies that do not work, a national broadband network that will not actually do the job and now a clothing allowance for parents to buy school uniforms and "set top boxes" for the elderly so that they can continue to watch television after the signal switches to digital.
I know, I lack compassion. I believe that it is up to people to insulate their own homes, indeed I think it should be a requirement in all new homes or before houses are sold. I support the idea of "temporary protection visas" for asylum seekers. I know it does not give people certainty in their lives but my experience is that genuine asylum seekers still hope to go "home" one day. If you want to migrate to Australia then go through the usual channels. I like the idea of an ethnically diverse community but please leave your racial and religious prejudices and your extreme cultural practices (such as female genital mutilation) behind. All that will save money which can be spent on helping all Australians live together.
I see no point in a national broadband network that covers only part of the country just so some people can watch movies on their computer screens. (Yes, that is oversimplifying it but the principle remains the same.)
You have to clothe your children and school uniforms now seem to consist of fairly standard skirts, shorts or trousers and tops and sweatshirts that are no more expensive (and sometimes cheaper) than the name brand clothes kids dress in at weekends.
Buying "set top boxes" for ageing television sets will do little to help elderly pensioners. Many will not need one as they switched to a new television set some time ago. Those who do may well find the box confusing to use, give up and buy a new television set. The boxes supplied will undoubtedly be of the cheapest variety and there have been numerous problems getting them to work properly.
Right. I have dealt with all that. With the money which could be saved I would suggest half of it should be spent on libraries and library services. This will actually save money in the future, especially in the area of mental health. The other half should be spent on setting up art and craft schools, especially for those who would rather do than read. Handyman/woman skills and gardening can be taught alongside these. This will also save money, especially with respect to the removal of graffiti and ongoing repairs from vandalism and the policing of such things. I know it will not stop these things altogether but it will reduce them in coming years.
It is nice to dream about these things and I know there are all sorts of reasons as to why it will never happen. But, what if it did?