SA Budget 2023-24: A focus on housing, health and cost of living and a new economic forecast

 15 June 2023

SA Budget 2023-24: A focus on housing, health and cost of living and a new economic forecast

Delivering the second budget of the South Australian Malinauskas Labor Government this afternoon, State Treasurer Stephen Mullighan declared the Government had a “responsibility” to provide support to those most in need in the face of “soaring” cost of living pressures. Accordingly, the 2023-24 South Australian Budget places a key focus on both housing and health, with the broader theme of cost of living relief positioned as a Budget centrepiece.

Revealing a $249 million deficit for the 2022-23 financial year, the Budget fell short of the $233 million surplus that last year’s Budget had forecast for the same period. The Treasurer indicated that while the Budget was forecast to be in deficit this year, it is anticipated to return to surplus next year, and every year in the forward estimates. The $500 million turnaround has largely been accounted for by additional health and housing expenditure.

The Budget also saw a downgrade in anticipated state growth over the next two years, with anticipated state growth expected to be flat in 2023-24 (1 per cent) before being forecast in 2024-25 to 1.75 per cent. Both were slight downward revisions from the Mid-Year Budget Review in December 2022. Payroll tax and Stamp duty in the State are both anticipated to grow significantly in nominal terms over the forward years, but minimally in real terms. The Government has kept its pre-election commitment regarding no new taxes, and most tax or levy increases have been held at or below 4.8 per cent.

Leading with a $474.7 million housing package, Treasurer Mullighan used his Budget speech to emphasise the Government’s focus on assisting South Australians to find housing that is “safe, secure, and affordable” – a task he stated was currently an unmet need for many in the State.

Significantly, the Treasurer announced that, in an effort to assist South Australians to enter the housing market, the Government will abolish stamp duty for first home buyers purchasing a brand new home up to the value of $650,000 or vacant land up to $400,000. This measure, combined with an increase to the property value cap of the First Home Owner Grant, will come at cost of $147.3 million over four years.

Many of the other measures funded within the Budget’s housing package were announced earlier in the year, including support for the development of up to 14,000 new homes, additional investment in affordable and social housing, and a large-scale land release. The Government has previously indicated that these land releases – in both the northern and southern metropolitan areas of Adelaide – are the largest in South Australian history.

In the realm of health, Treasurer Mullighan stated that $2.3 billion had been directed to the State’s health system from 2022-23 to 2026-27, with $470 million of this funding having been allocated since the Mid-Year Budget review in December 2022.

Mr Mullighan outlined a $200 million investment aimed at reducing ambulance ramping through measures including hospital staff increases and the expansion of the Adult Virtual Care Service. Citing increasing demands on hospitals, the Treasurer also highlighted a number of existing health commitments, with $100.8 million allocated to the development of a new Mount Barker Hospital.

South Australia’s child protection system also features heavily in the Budget, with $216.6 million allocated to measures including early intervention, funding for the care of children not in family-based settings, and additional support for families and foster and kinship carers. Providing a breakdown of this funding, Mr Mullighan stated the need for a “coordinated approach” across government, the community and the child protection system itself in order to achieve reduced numbers of children and young people in care. He also linked child protection investments to the Budget’s focus on cost of living, stating that the Government recognised the impact higher costs of living had been having on the efforts of foster and kinship carers to support children in their care.

Multiple investments were made in the education system, with funding allocated to school infrastructure, financial assistance for families with school children, and various other initiatives including support for respective wellbeing and autism support programs. Upgrades and repairs for schools and preschools received a $100.2 million funding allocation, while $35 million was committed to enable student participation in the Federal Government-funded National Student Wellbeing Program. Subsidies for school materials and services will continue for eligible families, funded by $12 million over 2023-24.

On infrastructure, Mr Mullighan cited a $21 billion investment program over the forward estimates, with $5.3 billion of this allocated toward the next stage of the North-South Corridor. Included in new infrastructure funding measures within this Budget was an additional $55 million for the Government’s pre-election promise of a new Adelaide Aquatic Centre, marking a 65 per cent increase from the initial budget allocated to the Centre. The Government has also earmarked funds to progress the Northern Water Supply Project. Additionally, stating that South Australia was a leader in the area of hydrogen and renewables, Treasurer Mullighan confirmed that the Budget progresses the Government’s Hydrogen Jobs Plan, with significant expenditure expected to be outlaid this financial year.

A $98 million package for road safety also featured in this Budget, including funding for various road upgrades, additional mobile speed detection cameras, and road safety campaigns. Additionally, $350 million was allocated toward regional road maintenance.

Concluding that the Budget focused on the Government’s “key priorities” of health and housing, Treasurer Mullighan indicated that the Government is committed to providing cost of living relief, and is “prepared to consider further measures” in this area if needed.

Further Reading

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
Partner – Public Affairs
M: +61 432 220 063
E: [email protected]


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