Labor’s State Budget must go beyond the housing headlines

Labor’s State Budget must go beyond the housing headlines

Posted on: 05 June 2024

As Peter Malinauskas continues to make lofty housing promises to South Australians – and many families struggle with the rising cost of keeping a roof over their heads – the Opposition is calling for there to be a significant investment in the infrastructure needed to support housing development in tomorrow’s State Budget.

Labor’s much-hyped land releases have hardly been the “fast track” to housing as promised with not a single house built yet and Renewal SA recently dubbing the Dry Creek site “incredibly complex” adding “there are a range of issues associated with it”.

Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, said he fears Labor will simply hit South Australian families with higher water bills to prop up these land releases at a time they can least afford it.

“South Australians are doing it tough right now during the cost of living crisis – with the typical family more than $20,000 a year worse off since Peter Malinauskas was elected – so the last thing they need is a hike in their water bills,” Mr Speirs said.

“Instead of punishing families with a price rise, Peter Malinauskas needs to use existing government funds to help expand SA’s water network.

“The former Liberal Government saved South Australian households an average of $200 on water bills while small businesses received deductions of approximately $1,350.

“We know additional supply is essential to solving the housing crisis, but it cannot come with unnecessary added costs to struggling families and small businesses.”

In addition to housing, Peter Malinauskas must also address the mounting cost of living and doing business in South Australia, historic levels of ramping, and growing concerns about crime and safety in tomorrow’s Budget.

“Right now, South Australia’s health system is on life support, with a record 4,773 hours lost to ramping last month. Despite Peter Malinauskas’ number one election commitment being to ‘fix ramping’, all measures Labor have introduced so far have failed to make a difference,” Mr Speirs said.

Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said despite the Malinauskas Labor Government collecting historic tax revenue over the past two years key areas are still not being addressed.

“The Opposition has long been calling on Peter Malinauskas to implement incentives to attract and retain frontline police as other states aggressively try to poach our experienced officers,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“Labor has also taken its hands off the wheel when it comes to South Australia’s regional roads, by ditching the standalone portfolio following Geoff Brock’s retirement. The Liberal Opposition’s ‘Report Your Road’ campaign has proven the condition of our regional roads remains a priority for South Australians and deserves significant investment.”

Shadow Minister for Finance and Tax Reform, Heidi Girolamo, said as South Australians cut back on their spending during the cost of living crisis, many small businesses are feeling the pinch.

“We know small businesses have been struggling with rising operating costs and inflation, which is why we’ve been calling on Peter Malinauskas to provide relief through payroll tax reform,” Ms Girolamo said.

“In tomorrow’s budget, we’d like to see South Australia’s payroll tax threshold lifted to $2.1 million from $1.5 million, and for payroll tax exemptions for apprentices and trainees.

“If Peter Malinauskas ignores these calls, a Speirs Liberal Government is committed to lifting the payroll tax threshold.

“This initiative will go a long way to support small businesses who have found themselves in the territory of payroll tax for the first time.”