2018 Budget disregards young Australians — surprise, surprise!

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Students protest 2014 Budget cuts to higher education (screenshot via YouTube).

Jacinta Coehlo forgives our cynical view of the Budget, but asks: what else did we expect? Young generations have been forgotten for years.

THE 2018 BUDGET didn't hold many surprises for a pre-election budget.

It aimed to please a wide range of voters by issuing tax cuts to low and middle-income earners, remained neutral on other areas, prioritising airport security and pensioners.

At first glance, the budget seems balanced and it certainly is an improvement from previous ones (such as the 2014 Budget). 

It makes sense to prioritise pensioners and retirees as Australia has an ageing population. However, there is still a younger demographic that is being left behind. 

As a younger-than-retiree person, you'd be forgiven for viewing the new budget with a degree of cynicism. 

Recent budgets haven't seemed to benefit anyone born after 1965. This new budget is no exception.

The infamous 2014 Budget implemented by the Abbott Government not only lacked imagination but was a heinous attack on Australian youth and disadvantaged people. Instead of culling revenue from the top earners, or chasing multi-millionaire corporations who have gotten away with tax evasion, the Abbott Government decided to pick on university students.

The attempt to deregulate the HECS fee structure would have allowed universities the freedom to charge what they want for tuition. This would have made the Australian higher education system similar to the U.S. one. It was estimated that this could have more than doubled the cost of university degrees and so the proposal was nicknamed "100k degrees".

President of the National Union of Students Mark Pace condemns the 2018 Budget (video via Twitter).

The assault on Australian youth didn’t stop there. The next target on the list was the unemployed. They sought to increase the waiting time to get unemployment benefits by six months. They even chose to do this at a time when job certainty was particularly affecting younger generations. The Abbott Government decided that it would be reasonable to force young Australians to wait six months to receive any unemployment benefits. 

In this new budget, there are some tax benefits to the low and middle-income earners and, while these are better than nothing, they do not go far enough. A $200 tax refund for those earning $37,000 per year is pitiful. The thought counts — but it's not going to pay the bills.  

The budget has failed to address the youth homelessness that has gone up significantly in Australia. In NSW alone, it's risen 117% for 19-24 year olds.

It has failed to raise the Newstart Allowance for job seekers. We know that youth unemployment is at record-high levels. So while it may not be a direct assault on youth like the 2014 Budget, it is there in the undertones. 

It has failed to address housing affordability for younger generations with Liberal MP Julia Banks ignorantly claiming she could live on $40 a day, which is clearly inadequate in the majority of housing rentals in Sydney.

In previous budgets, the prioritisation of the older demographic was evident with the Howard Government who gave away benefits like candy to the older generations, including tax cuts and bonuses to pensioners and retirees. They were like Santa Claus to older generations and the Grinch to the younger ones. 

Former Prime Minister John Howard and former Treasurer Peter Costello introduced the franking credits to already rich retirees in multi-million dollar homes. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten proposed to abolish it and was met with criticism and claims of "class war".

It ain’t class warfare. It’s generational warfare.

It’s younger generations who will be footing the bill in this new budget since younger generations will be supporting baby boomers and pensioners into retirement. The majority of the Turnbull Government are in the baby boomer age bracket — which is an alarming and unbalanced representation of the Australian population.  

If they do not modify their policies, they will go down in history for doing nothing for climate change (with no change to clean energy) and nothing for future generations.

You can follow Jacinta Coelho on Twitter @jacintacoelho8.

Katie Acheson of Youth Action discusses the 2018 Budget's shortfalls for young Australians (video via Twitter)

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