Wednesday, 9th November 2011

The Tasmanian Government needs to set some clear boundaries in its cost cutting regime, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

“Everyone would agree that the belt needs tightening yet how this is achieved sends a strong message about where the government’s values lie,” ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said.

“Arbitrarily requiring all government departments to achieve significant savings is not looking out for our most needy citizens. Surely that is what we expect from our government, a duty of care to protect those most vulnerable in our society, sentiments recently echoed by both the Children’s Commissioner Aileen Ashford and Professor David Adams, author of the Cost of Living Strategy,” Mr Brown said.

“Slashing $58 million from elective surgery over the next three years, demanding cuts from among others mental health, disability services, and child protection (which the Children’s commissioner suggests needs $40 million to put back in order) is failing to draw a line of conscience the Tasmanian community expects from its leaders.

“One cannot in all good conscience spend money on non-essentials while our most needy citizens are suffering due to funding short-falls. To do so would be heartless.

“Just like any budget there are the essentials and non essentials. The constituents look to the government to make these decisions on its behalf. There have been many suggesting alternative cost cutting strategies that are not as heavy on front line services but it appears there has been little consultation with the community prior to announcing these cost cutting measures.

“Getting priorities in order is no easy task and something not everyone is going to agree on. Yet most Tasmanians would agree there should be some, who for humanitarian reasons, are exempt,” Mr Brown said.

“The government should be applauded for taking measures to balance the budget, but the most vulnerable should be the last to feel the effects of it,” he said