A socialist view on the budget

Over the coming months Yarra Council will develop a budget for 2011-2012. The two Socialist Party Councillors at Yarra will be campaigning for a budget that puts the needs of residents first.

We support a budget that does not slug residents across the board with over inflation rate rises. Rates should be charged on a progressive basis with big businesses and the wealthy paying more. The poor and the needy should be charged according to their ability to pay.

We support Council services being under Council-control and are opposed to privatisation which only pours money into the pockets of profiteers. We aim to cut costs by reducing the use of expensive contractors and consultants while defending and extending public services like child care and aged care.

A socialist budget would direct community support to resident’s and community groups instead of bureaucrats in offices. Rather than slugging ordinary rate payers, a socialist Council would wage a campaign against the cost-cutting of the State and Federal governments, demanding well funded services for all residents.

Both in the Council Chamber and in the community the Socialist Party will campaign on the following 5 issues:

1. Save and refurbish 49 Tudor Street

Currently the Council officers want to sell off the disused community centre at 49 Tudor Street in Richmond. The local residents are opposed to this and are arguing for the site to be saved. With the lack of community facilities in Richmond and a growing population we need more facilities in the area. The Socialist Party wants this site to be kept in Council hands and refurbished so that it can be utilised as a community centre under community control.

2. Build a new Indoor Sports Centre

At the moment Yarra does not have an Indoor Sports Centre. This means that people have to travel to play basketball, netball, indoor cricket and soccer. The Socialist Party supports putting money aside to build a new centre at the old Gas and Fuel site on the corner of Smith Street and Alexandra Parade. Improving sports facilities in the area will not only impact positively on public health but provide affordable recreation activities for young and old people alike.

3. A plan to expand childcare

Childcare across the city is in crisis. Hundreds of children are currently on waiting lists for centres around the area. The Council needs to implement a plan to wipe out the waiting lists by investing in new Council run facilities and campaigning for more State and Federal Government investment. The lack of affordable childcare severely affects the ability of families to function and make ends meet. The Council must provide its own service as well as spearhead the fight for more government support.

4. Bring back the Brunswick Street festival

Yarra has traditionally been a base for live music and the arts in Melbourne. Unfortunately due to gentrification and a lack of government support, live music and the arts are in decline in the area. The Socialist Party supports more funding for the arts and the re-establishment of the Brunswick Street festival in Fitzroy. We would like to see a community run festival that promotes local music and arts in Yarra.

5. A community support centre

While businesses are privy to lots of support from the Council, community groups in the area are often struggling to make ends meet. Rather than financing a thin layer of employers, Council should redirect funds into a community support centre which could provide support and assistance to community groups and local campaigns. Even with a modest budget such a centre could become a hub for important campaigns. One priority should be support for a campaign to fight for the expansion of public transport across the city.

If you would like to help campaign for any of these issues or have your own input into the budget process contact the Socialist Party.