Travers McLeod has critiqued the new budget, finding fault in its lack of vision. McLeod’s piece, which appeared in The Conversation, expresses concern that ‘the government wants everyone to “have a go”, but seems reticent to do so itself.’
‘It’s like the cricket captain sending in the nightwatchman without facing up to the challenge himself… The result is a hollow and contradictory approach to fiscal management and a slap-dash approach to supporting the structural economic transition Australia needs.’
McLeod cites several concerns.
‘After years of indiscriminate cuts, a more surgical approach might allow focus on allocative and dynamic efficiency. But surely these qualities cannot prosper in a public sector cut to the bone – not to mention the $80 billion of cuts to health and education that remain.’
Meanwhile cuts to foreign aid ($3.7 billion over the next three years) simply make Australia more prone to ‘the butterfly effect of poor development’ and reduce our regional influence.
Equally pressing for McLeod is the gaping deficit between the ‘conversation we need to have about the future and the one we’re having.’
He suggests Australia’s future lies in an ‘ideas boom,’ but laments that ‘we aren’t investing in winning ideas. The net result for innovation in the budget was poor: cutting $263 million from the Sustainable Research Excellence program salvaged the Research Infrastructure Fund.’
‘Small-target politics is a far cry from what Australians want: effective long-term policy solutions infused with values as well.’