South Australian Budget 2024-25: Cost of Living relief takes centre stage in a future focused budget

6 June 2024

South Australian Budget 2024-25: Cost of living relief takes centre stage in a future focused budget

Today the South Australian Treasurer Hon. Stephen Mullighan handed down his third State Budget. The Budget focussed on housing, health, and the cost of living with Mr Mullighan warning the House that “the nation’s economy is cooling.” With ‘unprecedented’ cost of living pressures, Mr Mullighan called this a budget that “invests in our state’s future.”

Key Budget Indicators showed an estimated operating surplus of $306 million for Financial Year 2023-24 with a surplus of $248 million budgeted for 2024-25 and further surpluses across the forward estimates. Despite this, net debt is forecast to grow from $31.7 billion in 2024-25 to $44.2 billion in 2027-28. CPI is forecast to decrease to 3.5 per cent in 2024-25 from the 2023-24 estimate of 4.75 per cent. Employment is expected to grow 0.5 per cent in 2024.25. The Government also announced South Australia’s gender pay gap was below the national figure of 12 per cent at 9.3 per cent.

The Treasurer opened his speech with the headline measure of $266.2 million in cost of living relief for families and small businesses. This included $51.5 million in a one-off Cost of Living Concession payment of $243.90 to be paid this financial year. Additionally, $36.6 million over four years will double the Cost of Living Concession (COLC) for 73,000 tenants and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders.

On housing, the Treasurer announced $843.6 million to boost supply and affordability including $576 million over 11 years to redevelop land at Seaton and Noarlunga Downs to provide 1315 and 626 dwellings, respectively. The land at Seaton will include 388 social and 197 affordable homes. $135.8 million over five years will be provided to upgrade 442 social housing dwellings across five SA Housing Authority and nine community housing projects. The Government also announced the abolition of stamp duty for all first home buyers who build or buy new build homes.

Furthermore, the SA Government will spend an additional $610.3 million on skills and education initiatives taking their spend over the next five years to $2.3 billion. $275.6 million will be utilised to increase the number of training places by 160 000 or 35 per cent. This will be in priority areas including defence, health, building and construction, clean energy transition, and early childhood education.

Consistent with pre-budget announcements, the Government will spend $715 million over five years to implement reforms to early childhood education, including $330.7 million over five years to deliver universal preschool for three-year-olds in government and non-government settings. The Treasurer also announced $127.3 million over four years to increase the minimum 15 hours of preschool to 30 hours for over 2000 children at greatest risk of developmental vulnerability, and $96.6 million over four years to support the early childhood workforce. The Government will release its Early Childhood Workforce Strategy in mid-2024. The Government will also establish the Office for Early Childhood Development with funding of $96.1 million over four years.

$155.3 million will see the building of a new 1300 place secondary school in the northern suburbs and $62.7 million over four years for a new preschool and primary school in Mt Barker with 100 and 350 places respectively. $38.1 million over four years will be provided to urgently upgrade five high schools across South Australia.

The Government will spend $25.6 billion over the next five years on infrastructure, including $7 billion for the Torrens to Darlington section of the North-South Corridor and $1.7 billion for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The Treasurer has also indicated that the State Government will find additional significant infrastructure developments problematic from a budgetary perspective.

On health, an additional $1.6 billion over five years has been budgeted recognising the higher cost of service delivery. $742.3 million over five years will be spent to meet activity demand pressure on the public health system. The Government will build three new ambulance stations in Whyalla, Marion and Two Wells, with $24 million set aside over the next three years. 56 new beds will be installed at the Queen Elizabeth and Lyell McEwin Hospitals over the next two years.

Of note in the race to net zero, $28 million will be spent over four years to enhance South Australia’s green economic credentials. A further $24.4 million has been earmarked for net zero agriculture initiatives. The Hydrogen Jobs Plan continues to move ahead with $5.8 million for construction workforce accommodation in Whyalla and $3.6 million to support the State Government’s Green Iron and Steel Strategy over the next two years. The Government will provide $1.7 million over two years to enable the transformation of the Whyalla Steelworks.

The South Australian Police will receive $19 million to build a digital police station to enable South Australians to lodge national police certificate requests, freedom of information requests, vehicle collision reports, and clamping and impounding payments. It is anticipated that when complete this will release the equivalent of 47 officers and staff back to operational duties. The justice system will receive $226.7 million, including $205.7 million over four years at Yalata prison to construct an additional 312 high security beds.

Concluding, the Treasurer called this a budget that “sets our state on the path for a more prosperous future” while seeking to keeping debt levels sustainable and the budget in surplus.


Further Reading

Budget Overview [PDF]

Budget Speech [PDF]

Budget Statement [PDF]

Budget Measures Statement [PDF]


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 at [email protected].

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

 

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