I rise today to speak briefly to the Supply Bill 2017, which seeks to appropriate $5.9 billion in order to patch over government spending between 1 July and the time at which the Appropriation Bill is given assent. Looking at supply bills in past years, this amount seems to be significantly larger than what we have become accustomed to, and I want to know if this is a factor of more unbudgeted spending and blowouts. I dread today's budget and what demons we may find.
It should concern all South Australians that this Labor government requires nearly $6 billion for the day-to-day operation of government for the months between 1 July and whenever the budget may pass. This is an inordinate amount of money, and I find it hard to believe that the South Australian government is operating in its most efficient and cost-effective state. We see today, on the front page of The Advertiser, that the Treasurer is now spending the surpluses over the forward estimates. These are surpluses that exist only through the windfall from privatisation of dividend-paying government enterprises. Take ForestrySA for example, it was sold for $670 million, a figure which has proven to be only six to seven years of profit, if recent figures are to be believed.
I have often spoken in this place about the need for governments to realign their priorities and keep their mandate, and therefore spending, to the bare minimum in order to return tax revenue to the taxpayers themselves. Revenue is often used as a term in government as if the money belongs to the government. This is a falsehood. Tax dollars are taken forcibly from citizens in exchange for services. It should stand then that these services are absolutely necessary, because taking citizens' hard-earned money should be a reluctant obligation of any government.
This is why we need a change of government. It is time for a cultural shift in terms of government spending. There is no other way to return tax dollars to their rightful owners other than to limit government spending. Whilst any minister would be reluctant to reduce services, sometimes these things are absolutely necessary in order to govern responsibly, and that is what we seek to do on this side of the chamber. As convention dictates, I commend the bill to the council.