SA Budget 2021-22: A Blueprint for a Stronger South Australia

Tuesday 22 June 2021

SA Budget 2021-22: A Blueprint for a Stronger South Australia

South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas today handed down the 2021-22 State Budget outlining the Marshall Government’s plan for charting a path out of the pandemic, noting the significant financial, economic and health challenges the state confronted.

Mr Lucas highlighted South Australia’s economic success, noting that it has performed considerably stronger than predicted; that more than 60,000 jobs have been created in South Australia since the beginning of the pandemic; and that there are now more people employed than at any time in the state’s history.

To continue support for job creation, the Budget established a $200 million Jobs and Economic Growth Fund. Mr Lucas also revealed that the Marshall Government is considering a range of investments across several initiatives including those in hydrogen, space, defence and plant protein sectors.

The Treasurer revealed that the state’s economy was estimated to grow by 2.25 per cent in 2020-21, compared to the 0.75 per cent contraction predicted in last year’s Budget. The Budget also outlines significant deficits for this year and next, before returning to a surplus from 2022-23, one year earlier that estimated.

An estimated deficit for 2020-21 of $1.8 billion was also revealed, down from last year’s prediction of $2.6 billion and a $1.4 billion deficit for 2021-22. However, total net debt is still expected to rise from $22 billion in 2020-21 to $33.6 billion in 2024-25. Meanwhile, employment in South Australia is forecast to grow by 1 per cent in 2020-21 and by 2 per cent in 2021-22.

Further relief will be provided to businesses through a 12-month extension of payroll tax exemption for wages paid for new trainees and apprentices; a 50 per cent land tax discount for eligible new build-to-rent housing projects; and an additional $10.7 million in land tax relief for 2021-22 for those that have been negatively impacted by changes to land tax aggregation rules.

Regional South Australia is expected to contribute around $29 billion to the state’s economy, which is more than one quarter of total Gross State Product (GSP). The Budget will also include an additional $875.7 million in new measures over the forward estimates supporting the regions, including $786 million for regional roads and $120 million for regional education facilities.

The Budget contains significant expenditure on infrastructure with $17.9 billion allocated towards the state’s infrastructure program. The includes the completion of the north-south corridor which has been allocated $3.4 billion over the forward estimates, with the estimated cost of the project now $9.9 billion.

Other transport initiatives include an additional $100 million towards the $715 million Gawler Line electrification project and $215 million to proceed with the Strzelecki Track upgrade. The Treasurer also announced that given the lack of community support for the Hove Level Crossing project, and the blowout in estimated costs, the Government has decided not to proceed with the project.

Recognising the strain that COVID-19 has placed on the state’s hospitals and health services, Mr Lucas outlined that the Government will commit $7.4 billion in health spending. This includes an increase to emergency department capacity with $110 million allocated to provide 140 new treatment spaces in hospital emergency departments, addressing bed block in hospitals and providing an additional $45 million over four years to fund the already announced extra 74 paramedics and ambulance staff.

This also includes $1.1 billion over the forward estimates towards the building of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which is expected to open for patients in 2027. In addition, $163.5 million will be provided over the forward estimates to strengthen the state’s mental health system by supporting the implementation of the state’s Mental Health Services Plan.

Mr Lucas also revealed a commitment of $50.1 million for the Early Learning Strategy, which is aimed at improving the identification of developmentally vulnerable children and enabling early intervention and support. In addition, $665 million will be invested in education and schools, including the building of new schools at Angle Vale, Aldinga, Whyalla, Rostrevor and Goolwa.

The Marshall Government has also reaffirmed their commitment to the building of a new multipurpose arena within the Riverbank Precinct. The new arena will host basketball, netball and tennis events as well as have the capacity of 15,000 spectators for live entertainment performances. The arena is expected to cost $662 million which will be reduced by the proceeds from the sale of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.


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