|Issue No 18||18 June 1999|
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Carers Crisis: Victims Turned Away
Farmers Back Social Audit
Holiday Bugs: Government Asked to Act on Y2K
Oakdale Miners Take Message to Canberra
United Front for Public Sector Pay
Talking Books Silenced
Upper House Reform: Lest We Forget Greiner
Pregnancy Bunfight Looms
Horta Launches East Timor Mercy Ship
Sparkies Back Fantastic Plastic
APHEDA Helps Beat The Blockade
Torture Support Day, June 26
Annual budgets are a timeless political ritual: the strategic leaks, the contrived negative expectations, the headline surplus/deficit of Budget Day and then the revelation weeks later that the devil really was in the detail.
Dancing the Budget Jig
First budgets in a political cycle are even more cliched: you make it tough, set out a term-long agenda and make sure there are enough goodies in the bag for the next election.
Workers Online doesn't know what to expect in this week's State Budget - predictions of a horror budget are now being replaced by hints of something more benign.
What we do know is that the numbers in the Budget papers will only ever tell part of the story because they are only indicators used to describe a far more complex world.
Where, for instance, will the real story of the declining quality of social and community services be told? While the dollar figures allocated to this sector will increase incrementally, there is no way it will keep pace with the spiralling demand caused by the ongoing impact of economic change.
A majority of workers in the field say they are turning away people in need because of lack of resources. But where will this figure appear in the accountant's columns?
What is becoming increasingly obvious is that annual budgets can't begin to tell the whole story of how government is performing. The term 'indicator' accepts this, but politicians seem to take it at gospel.
Trade unions are arguing that a more comprehensive audit of the resource allocation and social needs of the state needs to be taken outside the budget cycle.
The answers might not be pretty. We may uncover problems that require longer term strategies to address - plans that transcend a single budgetary or electoral cycle.
It may make life harder for our policy-makers; but it is only by recognising these problems that we will we ever make sense of the complex budget process to which so much uncomprehending attention will be paid this week.
|Jeff Shaw Live from the ILO||Seven Sleep-Beating Tips for the World Cup Fanatic||Deirdre Mahoney on the Fight for Africa||Piers Goes Green?|
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005