POLITICS

Budget 2017: Not Everyone Is Going To Get What They Want

There are plenty of calls for funding, but only so much to go around.

09/05/2017 7:25 AM AEST | Updated 09/05/2017 7:47 AM AEST

CANBERRA -- In tight economic times, and with so many demands on the Turnbull Government's purse strings, there is certain to be many disappointed groups after the Budget is brought down by the Treasurer on Tuesday night.

Scott Morrison's second budget and the Coalition's fourth since winning office in 2013 may have already been printed, but it is not too late to highlight some policy areas struggling for attention and funding.

Environment

The Australian Conservation Foundation wants more protection for the environment. It said the environment budget has declined by 20 percent on 2013 levels and is projected to decline by 38 percent by 2019.

The pot of money for carbon farming projects, the Emissions Reduction Fund, is running out.

Total abatement contracted under the ERF is now 189 million tonne of greenhouse gas emissions and there is $300 million left for future projects to plant and preserve trees. Will the government top up this fund?

A Safe Schools replacement

In a highly charged political environment, the Safe Schools program was killed off, but there are pleas for a new national anti-bullying program with an LGBTQ focus.

The Turnbull Government is being asked to match Labor's $6 million election commitment to Safe Schools.

Social housing and homelessness

The Treasurer is being urged not to scrap the 2009 National Affordable Housing Agreement, which sees $1.3 billion of grants handed to the states and territories.

Morrison has described it as a "one-way ATM providing important resources without accountability for outcomes" and is looking more kindly at national bond aggregator to raise cheaper finance for affordable housing developments.

Foreign Aid

Cut every year since the Coalition came to power, Australia's foreign aid budget is now around one-third smaller than it was budgeted to be in 2013-14.

In announcing a "historic investment" of $321 million over the next four years for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), it is expected this will be the fourth consecutive aid budget cut by the Coalition.

Aid expert Professor Stephen Howes describes an "absence of deep popular support" for foreign aid in Australia, but the Prime Minister recently defended Australia's actions as a donor nation: "Well, we are a generous and responsible foreign aid donor and it is a very important part of our international diplomacy, it's a very important part of our role as a responsible and effective global citizen".

Defence

The Australian Defence Force has an enormous budget and is not "struggling", but the Coalition has a promise of a pathway to spending 2 percent of GDP on defence.

Will this White Paper pledge be kept?

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