Liberals pledge to end GP tax grab and launch nuclear energy inquiry

Liberals pledge to end GP tax grab and launch nuclear energy inquiry

Posted on: 20 June 2024

A Speirs Liberal Government will abolish the GP Payroll Tax grab and establish a Royal Commission into the potential for civil nuclear energy generation in South Australia.

The policies were announced by Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, during his budget reply speech, where he highlighted how Peter Malinauskas’ latest State Budget does little to ease the pressures South Australians are facing when it comes to the cost of living and doing business.

In less than two weeks, sick South Australians will pay more to see their doctor as Peter Malinauskas’ GP Payroll Tax grab starts to take effect. GPs fear this will have a devastating impact on our health system, which is already suffering under unprecedented pressure, with patients expected to avoid seeing their doctor and ending up in overcrowded hospitals.

Despite Peter Malinauskas’ promise to “fix ramping”, it’s never been worse with a record 4,773 hours lost to ramping outside our emergency departments last month.

If elected in 2026, the Liberals will ensure GPs do not have to pay this tax in order to keep the cost of seeing a GP down, and to support our general practitioners in delivering essential health services to South Australians.

While South Australian families and businesses are enduring some of the highest electricity prices in the world, Peter Malinauskas cut energy bill rebates in his latest State Budget. With energy affordability and reliability crucial at this time, a Royal Commission would investigate the viability of nuclear energy generation in the state and re-look at what role South Australia could play in the nuclear fuel cycle.

It follows the Liberal Opposition’s pre-budget policy announcements, aimed at keeping the dreams of home and business ownership alive. A Speirs Liberal Government will provide stamp duty relief for first home buyers who wish to purchase an existing property and support small businesses by lifting the payroll tax threshold and providing payroll tax exemptions for apprentices and trainees.

Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, said he’s disappointed Peter Malinauskas didn’t do more to assist South Australian families and businesses.

“The question every South Australian has to ask themselves is are they better off now than they were in 2022? The answer is a resounding ‘no’,” Mr Speirs said.

“The typical South Australian family is more than $20,000 worse off per year under Labor, as the cost of everyday essentials continue to soar.

“When South Australians are in the grips of a cost of living crisis, Peter Malinauskas is making it even more expensive to visit a GP.

“That’s why a Speirs Liberal Government will abolish the GP Payroll Tax, so sick South Australians aren’t paying more to see their doctor or avoiding their GP and ending up in our overwhelmed EDs.

“I’ve long been saying we need to have an open-minded conversation about the potential for a civil nuclear industry in South Australia, as we’re paying some of the highest electricity prices in the world and every option to produce affordable, reliable power should be on the table.

“With nuclear submarines set to be built in South Australia, it makes sense to consider civil nuclear energy generation here, which is why a Speirs Liberal Government will establish a Royal Commission to investigate its viability.

“We believe there are many missed opportunities in this budget when it comes to the cost of living, the cost of doing business, easing the pressures on our health system, and keeping the dream of home ownership alive. If Peter Malinauskas doesn’t help South Australians in these key areas – we will.”

Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said Peter Malinauskas delivered a true Labor, big-spending, undisciplined budget.

“Despite Labor promising no tax increases, South Australians are paying more tax than ever before,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“Peter Malinauskas could have used this historic tax revenue to support struggling small businesses through payroll tax reform, instead he’s turned a blind eye to the challenges they’re facing.

“Labor’s cynical, political decisions mean South Australians will be burdened by a $44 billion debt bomb, that will hurt future generations with taxpayers having to fork out more than $5 million a day just to cover the interest repayments.”