I say that because I didn’t watch the budget or listen to it in any shape or form. Let’s face it, they can be a bit boring.
I’ve seen quite a few in England, they are all pretty much the same. The Chancellor mentions words like million, billion, since, increased, improved, deficit and previous many, many times. As in…..
“Since this government has come to power we have spent millions and billions and increased the blah 3 billion previous 2 billion improved since coming to power 7 billion reduce 3 million billion blah previous government was rubbish blah deficit”
After all the banter, we’d get…
- Cigarettes up 20p packet.
- Beer up 5p a pint.
- Wine and spirits up 35p a bottle.
- Petrol up and up and up.
- Tax up.
- VAT up.
- Woz up!
And that’s what I thought I’d find by skimming today’s news on the Internet. But I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t find a single reference to a beer, wine, spirits, petrol, GST or anything. Perhaps Australia will put that up on another day. I’m still learning.
The Budget, 2011.
Hold on, don’t go! There is some good news for some of you hoping to move to Australia at the end of this post. Please stick with it.
Wayne Swan, our Treasurer, says his budget is about “getting back in the black, getting more people into jobs and spreading the opportunities”.
This year, Australia’s deficit is a tad under $50 billion, that’s about $8 billion more than the government estimated just six months ago.
But don’t worry, the new budget is going to get Australia back into a surplus of $3.5 billion by 2012/13. Well that’s all right then. So the budget for this year is supposed to save $22 billion which, by my calculations, means that next year’s budget will need to save $31.5 billion. (That’s probably my first wildly inaccurate assumption.)
So anyone who thinks that this year’s cuts are tough, just wait till next year!
But this year’s savings will come from….
- Deferral of infrastructure projects saving $$$$$$$$$$
- Defence, lots of efficiency cuts saving $$$$$$
- Reduction and deferral of funding for the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagship Programme saving $$$
Well, enough already! If you want a list of the full savings, click here. I want to talk about the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagship Programme. I think I saw what this one is all about in a programme about climate change the other day.
Here’s what I think it is.
Scientists have now found a way of freezing carbon dioxide as it comes out of the chimneys at a power plant. Once frozen, they have to then find a safe way of disposing it. They have now discovered that the best way to do this is to inject it into rock, sandstone I think they said. And that, my dear friend, will reduce the carbon footprint of power plants here in Australia and around the world to zero.
There are only two drawbacks, according to the scientists. The first is that the technology to do this won’t finally be in place until 2022 and by then they fear it will be too late. (Oops) The second problem is that it’s likely to put the cost of power to the end user up by around 60%.
Crikey, it’s not like electricity is cheap now, is it?
Let me get this straight. This government wants to introduce a carbon tax, but it wants to save money this year by not bothering to work on its programme to reduce actual carbon dioxide emissions.
There must be a word for this kind of behaviour. Anyone?
Back to the savings…
Total savings this year – (as detailed fully if you bothered to click the link above) nearly $4 billion! So only $18 billion to save over the next 3 years to hit the target then. (According to those figures, not mine, but then I don’t understand, which is why this is wildly inaccurate.) Luckily, here in Australia, there’s gold in them thar hills….. or is it down in the mines.
The Good News.
As hinted at above with the gold reference, Australia is currently enjoying a bit of a mining boom. And the government has recognised the skills shortages in this budget attached to that industry and everything around it to support it.
So they have introduced three measures.
- A National Workforce Development Fund to train 130,000 people in key industries.
- There will be a clamp down on getting people off welfare. Single parents, the unemployed and young people. Those claiming disability may have their incapacity re-assessed and could be asked to actively seek work before receiving any benefits.
And here’s the one you’re interested in.
- The government will open the doors to 16,000 extra skilled migrants annually.
There, told you it was worth hanging around.
To qualify, some may have to live in regional areas, but there’s nothing wrong with regional areas. Not only that, but usually you are only tied to that area for two years, after that you are free to go where you like. All you got to do during your initial stay, is secure permanent residency (PR). Which isn’t usually that hard to do, after all, you are skilled.
So, is 16,000 extra skilled migrants annually a lot?
My research suggests it’s not really 16,000 EXTRA skilled migrants, but it’s an additional 6,000 above the previous 10,000, which, if nothing else, is a 60% increase. But then what do I know? Maybe I’m being wildly inaccurate again.
That’s it for the budget, although we do still have the carbon tax lurking in the background.