5 September 2018 – South Australia’s Liberal Government has this week handed down its first budget since coming to office back in March, forecasting a modest surplus of $48 million in 2018/19, rising to $211 million by 2021/22.
To get there the Government is aiming for $864 million in cost-cutting over the coming four years with part privatisation of the prison and health sectors identified as an opportunity for savings.
Cuts to up to 2,300 public sector jobs from the current 85,000 full-time equivalent employees has also been touted with the Government setting aside a $170 million for a redundancy package fund over 2018-19.
Within the budget papers the Marshall Government says it is focused on “cleaning up the mess left by the former government, keeping all the government’s election promises and building a strong foundation for the future.”
Headlining the spending is the $11.3 billion investment over four years in infrastructure across the state with $2.3 billion alone set aside for road improvements, $1 billion for public transport and $1.2 billion for water infrastructure.
Within the bucket of infrastructure funding, $315 million over four years will be spent on the establishment of the Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund. The Government says the dedicated funding stream will include maintenance critical to supporting regional communities as well as enhancing transport economic productivity and links to relevant industries.
The GlobeLink project also received $20 million for the development of a masterplan which will investigate improvements to freight export infrastructure to increase access to export markets. According to the budget papers an initial business case will be undertaken in 2018–19 which will identify timing and delivery of further stages in the planning process. A comprehensive consultation process with industry and the community on the business case will take place prior to completion of the masterplan.
Tuesday’s budget also confirmed the previously announced establishment of Infrastructure SA with $8.2 million set aside for the body which will provide a transparent targeted infrastructure decision making process.
Small businesses across the state will welcome the removal of payroll tax. The changes mean that small businesses with annual taxable payrolls below $1.5 million will be exempt from payroll tax from 1 January 2019. Businesses with annual taxable wages between $1.5 million and $1.7 million will pay less payroll tax. The Government says approximately 3,200 businesses will become exempt from payroll tax (a saving of up to $44,550 a year) with around 400 businesses expected to receive a reduction in their payroll tax liabilities.
And in an effort to continue the positive employment trend in South Australia the government has also set aside more than $200 million for jobs training and growth. In partnership with the Commonwealth Government, it is hoped that the funding will support the creation of an additional 20,800 apprenticeships and traineeships in South Australia through subsidised training and support services developed in partnership with employers, training providers and individuals.