There will be no funnies posted today. Because nothing about today is funny.
The federal government has just handed down their 2014 budget. There’s lots to rant about, but I’m going to stick to the points that anger me most.
- Foreign aid – the government is set to cut almost $8 billion from Australia’s foreign aid budget. This is despicable at a time when we are such a prosperous nation. Other nations are increasing their foreign aid budgets, and ours is already one of the lowest in terms of GDP, yet we’re decreasing it further? Additionally, as someone who has previously received funding from AusAid for international development projects, this foreign aid budget cut is going to severely affect our ability to do research in many of these countries. The only way we have managed to get agreements with local governments in many places is because they receive AusAid funding. Without it, I see our ability to work there being non-existent.
- University budgets – the budget announced a $6 billion cut to the university budget. Given the government’s new “earn or learn” policy, by which anybody under the age of 30 is unable to apply for unemployment benefits, it’s going to dump thousands of new students into an already underfunded and overburdened university system. With further cuts to come. Who exactly is going to teach all of these people when the universities don’t have enough money to actually employ any lecturing staff?
- University tuition – my biggest rant of the night. The government is set to uncap tuition fees and allow the universities to set their own fees starting in 2016. Yes, you heard right – uncapped tuition fees. Welcome to America? You now have the luxury of taking out a mortgage to pay your tuition fees! Welcome to a system where only the rich get to have an education at a Group of Eight university! Must be nice for all these politicians who got their nice FREE taxpayer funded education to prevent anyone else from getting one.
- Research funding – while the NH&MRC budget remains relatively unscathed, CSIRO and the ARC bore the brunt of budget cuts for research funding. $111.4 million will be cut from the CSIRO budget, and $850 million will be cut from innovation and research and development funding, with nearly $80 million to be cut directly from the ARC budget. Additionally, $79 million over four years will be cut from the Australia Council, Screen Australia and other arts programs. Apparently the arts don’t matter?
- Retirement age – the government said that Australian’s are living longer, therefore they should be working for longer, thus raising the retirement age. I don’t think people are going to be living longer for very long if they can’t afford to go to the doctor due to the new means testing of Medicare.
Guess the budget’s fantastic if your name is Gina or Clive though!