I rise to speak to the Supply Bill 2019. A government is entrusted to handle funds it requires from its taxpayers with the utmost care. All funds spent by the government, should serve a valuable purpose and provide a net benefit for the constituency.
A concept I have explained before in this Chamber, whilst in opposition, is that revenue is often used as a term in government as if the money belongs to the government. This is a falsehood. Tax dollars are deducted from the incomes of hard-working citizens in exchange for services. It should stand then that these services are necessary, and 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 necessary in order to govern responsibly, and that is what we seek to do on this side of the Chamber.
It follows that after more than a decade of the former Labor Government’s spending, the State Liberal Government has had some important budgetary decisions to make. When making these decisions, the Marshall Government will carefully ensure that revenue is being appropriated in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. A structural improvement to the budget, through a sustained reduction in government spending, is the only way to truly achieve surplus or, at the very least, a balanced budget. As I have said repeatedly in this place, once government spending is under control, taxes can be abolished or reduced to a minimum in order to see quality services well-funded. In the face of such decisions the government has remained committed to investment in essential services such as health, education and infrastructure and a return of tax payer’s dollars through the provision of essential services which benefit the community and State as a whole.
The coming years will see the biggest investment into education by any State Government in South Australia’s history with over $1 billion worth of capital works across the State, including three new schools and additional investment in education spending.
The State Liberal Government has announced investment of more than $185 million into capital projects to meet the capacity needs of government schools and to facilitate the transition of Year 7 into high school. A range of government schools across metropolitan and regional South Australia will also receive major upgrades to their infrastructure. I think it is particularly important that these regional schools, such as Port Augusta Secondary College, Nuriootpa High School, Eastern Fleurieu R-12, Mount Compass Area School, Kupunda High School and more, are set to receive funding.
In addition, a new $100 million state-of-the-art secondary school will be built in Whyalla to accommodate 1500 students in Years 7 to 12. Whyalla’s 3 existing high school campuses, which are Edward John Eyre High, Whyalla High and Stuart High, will be amalgamated into the new school.
Like our investment in education, another way the Marshall Government is seeking to improve South Australia is through a continued investment in infrastructure to bust congestion. Congestion affects roads throughout the State and as a government we have sought to improve traffic movement for South Australians. Over $200 million has already been announced and committed to intersection upgrades along Cross Roads, Goodwood Road and Portrush. This State Budget will further build on this strong commitment by continuing our massive infrastructure investment that aims to keep the traffic flowing. The Marshall Government will deliver $51 million in the 2019-20 State Budget to combat the congestion on Main North and Grand Junction Roads.
This investment allows for three intersections upgrades:
– The intersection of Main North Road and Nottage Terrace;
– the intersection of Main North, Kings and McIntyre Roads; and
– the intersection of Grand Junction, Hampstead and Briens Roads.
Improving congestion on key roads will reduce travel times for a great number of South Australians and improve overall road safety in those areas. These road and traffic improvements will be a positive outcome for South Australia.
The Marshall Government took to the election the promise to slash ESL bills for South Australians. As a Government we have continued to deliver on our commitment to slash ESL bills in this budget. In a stark contrast to the massive hikes endured under Labor, we are delivering the promised $360 million in ESL savings over the forward estimates. Such savings will put back $90 million a year into the pockets of families. The average household is set to save more that 50 percent or $163 in 2019-20 compared to the policy under the Labor Government. These families work hard, contribute to our wonderful state and will deservingly realise the savings we committed to deliver to them.
Governments of the day are tasked with the responsibility of using taxpayer funds in a wise and appropriate manner. The State Liberal Government is, in my view, committed to sensible spending across all departments, while still being able to provide valuable services for all South Australians.