SA Budget 2022-23: Record Health Spending as the State Transitions out of COVID

Thursday 2 June 2022

SA Budget 2022-23: Record Health Spending as the State Transitions out of COVID

As he handed down the first budget of the South Australian Malinauskas Labor Government this afternoon, State Treasurer Stephen Mullighan reinforced the Government’s commitment to uphold all of its pre-election promises, with a focus on “the single largest allocation of health funding of any budget in the state’s history”.

Mr Mullighan declared that the delivery of Labor’s first budget since 2017 came at a “pivotal moment” for the state as it “continues to transition to life beyond COVID-19”. He highlighted health, education, skills and energy as key priority areas of the new government and indicated that the Budget maintains a commitment from Labor to not impose new or increased taxes.

The Treasurer noted high retail sales, strong hospitality conditions and increasing demand for the construction industry as contributing factors to economic recovery over the past two years. The Treasurer also noted that the Government faced a challenge to deliver the Budget and its election commitments “while minimising future impacts on the state’s finances.”

Revealing an estimated deficit of $1.7 billion for 2021-22, Mr Mullighan pointed to additional costs for COVID-19 management and business support as the reasons for an increase on the $1.59 billion forecast by the former Government. However, Mr Mullighan emphasised that the Budget has been returned to surplus, with a $233 million surplus forecast for the 2022-23 financial year. Surpluses have also been forecast across the forward estimates. Net State Debt is predicted to continue to increase – albeit at a slower rate – across the forward estimates, however, indicating the size of the budget repair task in front of the Government.

Consistent with the Labor Party’s commitments while in Opposition, the centrepiece of this budget was a significant investment in the South Australian health system, totalling an additional $2.4 billion from 2021-22 to 2025-26. The Government has allocated $540.9 million for new hospital beds across metropolitan and regional SA, as well as $161 million for an expansion of the Flinders Medical Centre and the Repat, and $127 million over the forward estimates for a new hospital at Mount Barker. Funding has also been assigned to regional hospital infrastructure upgrades, construction of ambulance stations, and recruitment of additional medical specialists. The Budget also includes $1.44 billion over the forward estimates towards the new Women’s and Children’s hospital planned by the former Government.

Outside of Labor’s election commitments to health, Mr Mullighan highlighted an additional $648 million for SA Health in 2021-22 and 2022-23 to manage COVID-19, as well as $400 million of funding over five years to reduce its savings task.

The Budget allocates spending to some key commitments made by the former Government, including $65 million towards the establishment of a plant-protein manufacturing and export hub in South Australia, and $19 million towards the development of an Australian space park at Adelaide Airport.

Meanwhile, Mr Mullighan highlighted the removal of $662 million in funding for the former Government’s commitment to a Riverbank arena. The budget papers also indicate that funding has been removed for two key renewable energy subsidies implemented by the former Government – the Home Battery Scheme and the Switch for Solar program – saving $19 million.

Other key pre-election commitments have been funded in the Budget in the area of education and skills, tourism, energy and housing. This includes $208.8 million for new technical colleges and $28.8 million for the appointment of an autism lead teacher in every state primary school. Additionally, $18 million has been allocated in 2022-23 for the Adelaide 500 to be reinstated, with $70.2 million pledged over the next four years. For energy, the Budget includes funding for Labor’s commitment to a $593 million hydrogen power plant in Whyalla. For the Government’s public housing improvement plan, $177.5 million has been committed.

The Government has included budget funding for the promotion of South Australian businesses and products, with $6.2 million of funding allocated over four years for the return of the ‘I Choose SA’ campaign, and $2.8 million over the next four years for locally-focused government procurement.

The Budget also contains a significant investment in infrastructure, with $18.6 billion committed over the next four years, and $3.2 billion allocated to the completion of the North-South Corridor. However, the completion of this project has been pushed back by a year, due to issues with the design that the Government has identified. Other infrastructure programs funded include $400 million in partnership with the Federal Government for upgrades on Marion Road, and $125 million for a full duplication of Main South Road between Seaford and Sellicks Beach.

In a bid to support economic growth, the Budget features $100 million for a new Economic Recovery Fund, which will include the Government’s pre-election commitment to a $10 million manufacturing grants fund.


For more information on the State Budget, or to enquire about our communications, public affairs and government relations services in South Australia, please contact our Adelaide office on +61 8 7202 1300 or [email protected].

Sandy Kay-Oswald
Director – Public Affairs
M: +61 432 220 063
E: [email protected]


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