The Marshall Liberal Government has welcomed the overwhelming vote of confidence in its State Budget 2020-21 from a large cross-section of industry and stakeholder groups, who have thrown their support behind its record job-creating infrastructure spend and $4 billion in short-term stimulus.
Industry groups, including Business SA, the Business Council of Australia, the Property Council, Master Builders Association of SA, the RAA and Tourism Industry Council of SA, have all backed the Budget’s sweeping stimulus measures – from massive payroll tax relief, a second round of small business and not-for-profits cash grants, new ‘Tradies Package’ and both big and small-scale infrastructure projects that will drive the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Uniting Communities and the SA Council of Social Service (SACOSS) have also welcomed the Budget for its strong support of South Australian families and businesses who continue to do it tough.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said these groups played a critical role in the state’s ongoing economic recovery.
“We welcome the huge vote of confidence in the State Budget from a large number of industry and stakeholder groups, who all recognise the importance of job-creating infrastructure investment and short-term stimulus to provide the economic adrenalin hit SA needs,” said Mr Lucas.
Among the feedback received to the State Budget 2020-21:
“This is a budget to give the people of South Australia confidence that the state can come back stronger from the pandemic, with more jobs, more opportunities and a brighter future,” said Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott.
Property Council of Australia SA Executive Director Daniel Gannon said: “This is an economic blueprint that will put hard hats and steel caps on workers now and into the future, helping to transform South Australia’s skyline”.
Business SA CEO Martin Haese described the Budget as “business friendly” and welcomed its sweeping $233 million in total payroll tax relief – including a 12-month payroll tax exemption for wages paid to new apprentices and trainees who begin a relevant contract of training with an employer until June 30 next year.
“This is an important incentive for businesses and will help create jobs,” Mr Haese said.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer said: “This Budget delivers a smart blend of small-scale infrastructure stimulus in the immediate term to support jobs alongside major investments like the North-South Corridor, which are set to bolster South Australia’s productivity over the longer-term”.
Shaun de Bruyn, Chief Executive of the Tourism Industry Council of SA: “We’ve seen some good announcements today around nature-based tourism and some new investment in building infrastructure and visitor experience.”
Mark Henley, Uniting Communities: “There are times when Governments need to spend, and we are so pleased that the Government has heard that message – now is the time for Governments to be spending to get the economy moving again.”
Ross Womersley, Chief Executive of SACOSS “We have long advocated that it was good and important for the Government to continue spending and indeed that is what they’ve done.”
Meanwhile, Mr Lucas has described the Labor Party as ‘world-class whingers’ for their typically negative response to the Budget.
“Sadly, the Labor Party again have demonstrated they are out of touch with the positive response to the budget with their world-class whinging,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Federal Government’s employment growth figure is based on comparing employment in April, May and June next year with the same months this year.
“Of course, April, May and June this year were during the worst of COVID-19 and that is why the Federal Government estimate is for 2.75% growth.
“If we calculate employment growth in the same way, then State Treasury estimate SA’s employment growth at 4.25% for this year – which is much higher than the Federal figure.
“Labor were aware that SA Treasury estimates employment growth completely differently, on an average basis for all 12 months – not just 3 months.”