MYEFO confirms Morrison Govt’s rush to privatise visa processing

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) further progresses the Morrison Government’s rushed plan to sell off Australia’s visa processing system, while doing nothing to restore public services or stimulate the wages of ordinary Australians.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released the updated Commonwealth accounts this morning, revealing a big increase in revenue while confirming the Government continues to promise but not deliver on wages growth.

Other details of the Budget update include:

  • $72.3m to facilitate the rushed privatisation of Australia’s visa processing system.
  • No additional funding for desperately stretched frontline services such as those provided by Centrelink and Medicare, except to expand retrograde welfare quarantining and robo-debt programs.
  • An additional $116.7m over four years for biosecurity, partially unwinding previous cuts as staff reductions continue.
  • Additional funding for corporate regulators ASIC ($70.1m), ACCC ($35.6m) and APRA ($58.7m).
  • An additional $14.4m per year for the National Gallery of Australia, plus a one-off capital grant of $6.2m. $4m to create the merged Family and Federal Court, plus an additional $3.7m for the new entity.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has fallen into a pot of money, but hasn’t done much with it other than prepping its pre-election pork barrel and bankrolling its plan to privatise our visa processing system, a disastrous sell out for all Australians that also puts 3,000 jobs at risk.”

“It’s less than a fortnight since the Government formally released a Request for Tender for this sell-off, so rushing to allocate this money in MYEFO rather than waiting until the Budget proper next year further raises our fears that the Coalition wants to privatise our visa processing system before voters can have a say on their dodgy plan to line the pockets of private corporations.”

“These updated accounts clearly highlight how this Government is failing the country. A rapid rise in mining industry profits and tax revenue are filling the Commonwealth coffers, but there’s been no such improvement for ordinary Australians as their pay packets continue to go nowhere. MYEFO bows to reality by downgrading the May Budget’s desperately optimistic near-term wage growth forecasts but is still predicting a miraculous jump in pay from 2020 despite toxic Coalition policies preventing that outcome.”

“It’s no accident that wages growth is at record lows with a Government that’s so hostile to fair outcomes for workers, including those providing essential public services in Commonwealth agencies. Workers are still battling attacks on unions and the right to bargain, with the Government all too eager to stop their own workforce and others getting a pay rise.”

“This Budget update shows the Government isn’t listening and hasn’t learned from the many mistakes it’s made over the past five years. Some band-aid funding for a few agencies as we’ve got here doesn’t make up for five years of devastating cuts.”

“Clearly the only way to restore essential public services like Medicare and Centrelink is to vote the Coalition out. The ballot box is also the only way to fix damaging ideologically driven policies such as the so-called ‘efficiency dividend’, the arbitrary cap on Commonwealth staffing numbers and the ballooning use of contractors, consultants and labour hire in Commonwealth agencies.”

MEDIA CONTACT: SIMON FRAZER 0409 493 290

All electoral communications authorised by Nadine Flood, Community and Public Sector Union (PSU Group), Sydney