Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party presented 32 proposals for the budget, covering various sectors, namely fiscal and economic policy, social policy and health, environment, energy, transport, animal welfare, culture, youth, sports and foreign policy.
Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: 'AD is proposing an increase in the national and hourly minimum wage, including that for part-timers and contractual workers on a pro-rata basis. We are also in favour of improved legislation and policies that encourage the work-life balance such as more affordable and accessible childcare centres, flexible and/or reduced working hours as per workers' choice and equality of rights among workers in public and private sectors. Discrimination on various social levels should be confronted not only at work but also in other social spheres. An example of this is the claim for inclusion of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Fibromyalgia (FM) in the list of disabilities covered by the Maltese Social Security Legislation Act '.
'AD is also proposing fiscal measures based on social justice, environmental protection and economic good-sense. There should be shifts from tax on labour to tax on environmentally-harmful practices that generate large amounts of waste, pollution and use resources in an unsustainable manner. For example, we are for fiscal measures on property speculation, from third vacant property onwards. Fiscal mechanisms should encourage the renting and selling of properties which are kept vacant for speculation purposes. Besides, we are proposing financial transaction tax on financial transactions and on windfall profits of banks and financial institutions – thus curbing financial speculation'.
'We also favour the widening of the income limit for exemption from income tax for anyone earning less than an established amount established following scientific studies, coupled with reduction of income tax for lower and middle income earners'.
‘Government should take more action to ensure a decrease in medicinal prices, including considering importing them itself alongside importers from the private sector’.
Ralph Cassar, AD spokesperson for Industry, Energy and Transport, said: ‘There is Need for more investment in renewable energy, to reduce dependence on oil. Besides, utility tariffs should penalise wasteful practices and not basic consumption’.
Carmel Cacopardo, AD spokesperson for Sustainable Development and Local Government added: 'There should be full Implementation of WEEE Directive (Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment): producer representatives should commence taking back of used equipment thus implementing producer responsibility principle. Besides, the National Commission for Sustainable Development, which has not met for around 3 years, should be reactivated'.
'AD is also for serious investment in enforcement of littering and dumping laws and giving the tools to local councils for enforcement in this area, who are at present toothless to prevent dumping and littering in their communities. Lack of enforcement risks seriously ruining all the good work put into waste recovery scheme'.
Prof Arnold Cassola, AD spokesperson for EU and International Affairs, added: ‘There is also a need to reassess and increase Malta's contribution to development fund. The building and upkeep of detention centres is not to be considered part of this aid’.
AD's 32 proposals are attached with this press release and can be read here.