The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Delia questions ‘green’ budget since government refuses to declare climate emergency

Rebekah Cilia Saturday, 19 October 2019, 12:32 Last update: about 24 days ago

How can a budget be labelled as greenif the government refuses to declare a climate change emergency, Opposition Leader, Adrian Delia questioned today, when speaking on Net FM.

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Talking about last weeks budget presentation, Delia said that first legislation concerning climate change must be made, and then a financial plan is presented

A motion presented by the PN, a few days ago, seeks to have climate change declared as a national emergency. The government, however, presented several amendments to it, insisting that a 2015 law - the Climate Action Act - had already created the framework necessary to address the climate change challenge.

Since a vote on the motion will be taken next Tuesday, Delia said he did not want to rush when discussing this issue, but said he will continue to push forward the PNs proposition until the vote.

He did, however, note that climate change is a reality that will affect everyone. Delia also said it seems that the government is arguing as to who takes the merit for the laws, as even the amendments proposed are all about what the government has done.

Delia insisted that this is not a partisan issue and said that government MPs were very aggressive in parliament when the matter was being discussed. He also added that the PN is open to making changes to its motion, as long as parliament works together for future generations.

I appeal to the government, and the Prime Minister, to join us and to work together until Tuesday, to make the best attempt to give this present to our country,Delia said.

Budget: COLA not an increase but a compensation

Delia also mentioned that there was no mention in the budget about how the health sector plans to bring our hospitals back, referring to the concession deal made, initially, with Vitals. He also asked what investment Steward Health Care has made so far.

He also referred to the transport sector, saying that while maintenance of roads is positive, it is not enough to sustain the increase in the number of cars. Concerning the education sector, he also said there was no mention in the budget about children learning in containers, integration of foreign children and early school-leavers.

Mentioning the COLA, he said it is not an increase but a compensation. Delia explained that the rate of inflation has increased, and even when taking into consideration the increase in the cost of food only, the compensation of the higher cost of living is not enough. It is compensation for money already being spent, not an extra increase.

The ultimate problem, Delia said, is the economic plan, which the govemrent instead of investing in new sectors and education is relying on precarious growth. Whilst saying that a budget without taxes is a cliche, he noted that taxes are still being increased throughout the year.

Ministers would not incriminate themselves if they had done nothing wrong

Speaking about the latest Constitutional Court judgment, which upheld an eleventh-hour request filed by three ministers to not testify in a case concerning the Egrant inquiry, Delia said that if they had done nothing wrong the court would make them testify.

He explained that he had opened a case against the Attorney General for everyone to have the full copy of the Egrant report. The Attorney General witnessed under oath that he gave a full copy only to the Prime Minister, Owen Bonnici and Keith Schembri.

In separate proceedings, it was revealed that Chris Cardona, Edward Scicluna and Konrad Mizzi had obtained information which had not featured in the published conclusion of the Egrant report.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court found that the ministers did not have to take the witness stand and could instead present the extract/s quoted from the Egrant enquiry”. This would avoid them being forced to answer questionswhich could lead to them facing criminal action, as a result of a separate court application filed by civil society group Repubblika.

Delia noted that the fact that the court will not make them witness, so as not to incriminate themselves, is a problem in itself. He also said that it could either be that the Attorney General had lied when saying who he presented the full report to, or else the Ministers had got the information from other sources.

Immigration: more foreigners not from the EU arriving in Malta

Speaking about immigration, Delia said that this was a major preoccupation for our country.

He noted that a report saying that nearly 25 percent of the Maltese are not living in Malta, adding that the phenomena of outward migration need to be studied.

Delia also said that as more time passes more foreigners, not from the EU, are coming to Malta as this is the government's basis for economic growth.

 

 

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