The Government needs to implement a Green New Deal to keep the economy moving and stave off the growing risk of recession, said Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP.
Mr Bandt has written to the PM calling for the Government to adopt a Green New Deal, outlining three immediate measures that would boost the economy: lifting public sector wages, a $6 billion investment in the national electricity grid and raising Newstart and Youth Allowance by at least $95 dollars a week.
Comment by Adam Bandt MP:
“The Prime Minister needs to act on the recession threat. We need a Green New Deal because wages are stagnating, the bushfires have hit the economy hard and now the coronavirus is coming at us like a freight train.
“We are heading towards a cliff and the Prime Minister is refusing to grab the steering wheel.
“If the government allows the economy to slip into a recession, the Australian people will not forgive them. The Prime Minister can’t let politics and ideology get in the way of what the economy and country needs.
“A Green New Deal helps us deal with the immediate threat of a recession and starts to tackle the climate, jobs and inequality crises that our country faces.
“The Prime Minister is rightly urging people to holiday in bushfire-hit areas, but low wages and big mortgages mean many people don’t have the money to do it. The best way of ensuring people have money to take local holidays and buy local services is by lifting wages, and the government should start with a boost in the public sector which will help lift private sector wages too.
“Lifting Newstart and Youth Allowance means more money spent on basics like food, which helps our farmers and retail sector while also tackling inequality, and building grid infrastructure is a long-term investment in the energy transition and a boost to the construction and manufacturing sectors.”
Three key elements of the Green New Deal the Prime Minister could act on today:
- Restoring staffing cuts, lifting the public sector wages cap and raising public sector wages by 4% will lift spending in the economy and help drive wage rises in the private sector, which are stagnating. The RBA has identified public sector wages as a problem. This would cost $9 billion over forward estimates.
- Establish a $6 billion Grid Transformation Fund to connect the grid to renewable energy zones, driving jobs and investment in the construction and manufacturing sector and unlocking energy investments being held back by bottlenecks in the grid. If the government moves quickly this will have a significant immediate and medium term impact and is a key critical infrastructure investment in the transition to a zero-net emissions economy. This would be debt funded and generate a return for the government.
- Lift Newstart and Youth Allowance in the Budget by at least $95 dollars a week, supporting over 700,000 people on low incomes who will put every cent back into local economies, as called for by the Business Council of Australia and ACOSS. This would cost $15.2billion over forward estimates.