ICY wind and the threat of rain didn’t deter Border residents rallying yesterday against the federal government’s budget measures.
About 70 people — from primary schoolchildren to senior citizens and from as far away as Benalla — gathered at Wodonga’s Woodland Grove to protest against all manner of issues.
It was one of many “Bust the Budget” rallies across the nation.
Welfare and education changes, public sector cuts and Medicare topped concerns.
Some took the opportunity to discuss their opposition to the government’s environment and asylum-seeker policies.
Wodonga’s Nancy Gaskin and her daughter, Samantha, 18, were both passionate about welfare changes, and what the budget would mean for struggling families or pensioners and those on disability pensions.
Samantha, who has a chronic illness, uses a wheelchair. She said proposed changes would be tough on her and her mum, who was a single parent.
Others like Sally Morris, of Albury, a member of the Teacher’s Federation NSW, opposed changes to higher education that threaten to make tertiary education less affordable.
“The government is selling out our financial future,” she said.
Wodonga’s Lynda Joyce, who attended with her young children, had multiple concerns, from the treatment of refugees to health and welfare.
“Where do you start?” she said.
“I feel it’s not a very compassionate budget.”
Umbrellas popped up as the small but vocal crowd stood determined to withstand the chill and light rain.
Speakers included former independent candidate for Indi Alan Lappin, North East Border Trades and Labor Council’s Chip Eling, Marilyn Webster, of the Sanctuary Refugee Group, UnitingCare Wodonga’s Geoff Moar and Karen Batt from the Community and Public Sector Union.
Ms Batt called for people to fight against the “Americanisation of Australian society and way of life”, while Mr Moar stressed the ever-growing number of people needing welfare help would increase under new budget measures.
“These are the people the government calls leaners but they are just people like everyone else who needs some help,” Mr Moar said.