No real gain, but plenty more pain for SA households in Budget: SA-BEST

18 June 2019

Struggling South Australian families will bare the brunt of the Marshall Government’s second Budget as increases to a raft of everyday fees and charges hit the family budget, SA-BEST has warned.

Dozens of fees and charges – including car registration, public transport fares and traffic fines – are about to increase by up to five per cent, well about the inflation rate of 1.3 per cent.

Households are also likely to bare the brunt of a 40 per cent hike in the waste levy – from $100 a tonne currently to $140 a tonne – which is charged to local councils, but which SA-BEST fears will be on-passed to households and businesses via their council rates.

SA-BEST MLC and Treasury and Budget spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, said the increased waste levy impost would add $600,000 a year to Charles Sturt Council’s operating costs, from next year.

Other large metropolitan and regional councils will also be hit forcing them to pass on those increased costs to ratepayers.

“As expected, there is very little gain and plenty of pain for South Australian households in the Marshall Government’s second Budget,” Frank said.

“Battling South Australian families whose household budgets are already at breaking point under the weight of spiralling energy prices and general cost of living expenses will be the hardest hit,” he said.

“These hard-working South Australians will be asking what they need to do to get some respite from the ever-increasing costs of having a family.

“There is also little incentive for young people to enter the property market or for the struggling building and construction sector.

“We know the Liberal Government inherited a financial mess by the former Labor Government, and that its second Budget was going to continue to toe the line of its first Budget, but there appears to be very little to make lives easier for South Australians.”

SA-BEST MLC and Government Accountability spokesperson, Connie Bonaros, welcomed an injection of $1.8 million over four years to establish a government-funded legal representation scheme for children subject to a youth treatment order application - following moves initiated by SA-BEST.

But she said in such a harsh economic environment the government’s expenditure in some areas needed to be questioned.

“Treasurer Lucas has carved out a reputation for keeping a very tight clamp of the state’s spending,” Connie said.

“Today’s Budget is another example of that,” she said.

“It’s designed for short-term gain with no thought or vision for the long term, big picture.

“The government is happy to knock back funding pleas to crucial, community-minded organisations like JusticeNet and the Lymphoedema Support Group without any thought to the long-term implications those decisions will have.”

SA-BEST is particularly disappointed at the government’s lack of support for the ailing local building and construction industry.

Industry leaders held talks with Treasurer Lucas in the lead up to the Budget seeking some sort of financial incentive to help bolster the struggling sector.

This included potential stamp duty relief for first home owners and/or the removal of the compulsory requirement for new homeowners to install rainwater tanks when building – a financial impost which could save homeowners up to $5000 on their new build.

“In SA, the building and construction industry directly employs around 70,000 people and undertakes about $16 billion of work each year,” Frank said.

“We all know the sector is struggling with a number of home builders being forced to the wall in recent times,” he said.

“The state can’t afford to see that situation get any more dire – the livelihoods of too many South Australians workers, businesses and their families rely on it.”

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