South Australia’s ‘effective management’ of the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled South Australians to ‘return to normal life faster than most other states’, helping the state avoid the worst of the recession and prompting a surge in locals flooding back into the labour market, a leading national independent economic report says.
The quarterly Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook credits the Marshall Liberal Government for doing much of the ‘heavy lifting’ through the pandemic, with our record $4 billion in economic stimulus turbo-charging the state’s economy, and our enormous infrastructure pipeline worth $17.9 billion over the next 4 years creating thousands of jobs through new and upgraded schools, hospitals, roads, rail and housing.
It also forecasts housing construction to keep tracking well, noted the state has finally reversed the interstate brain drain (which was presided over by the former Labor government), and reports ‘encouraging signs’ of business improvement, supported by the State Government through payroll (and land) tax relief and deferrals.
“That’s now flowing through to jobs. Employment is a chunk higher than it was before the pandemic arrived. And South Australians have flooded back to the labour market in response,” the report states.
“Yes, the balance of those things has seen the unemployment rate stay a fraction above pre-COVID levels. But for a state that’s historically had low participation, any gains are very much welcomed – and they could have longer-term benefits for the state.”
Treasurer Rob Lucas has welcomed the findings which follow special Roy Morgan analysis showing SA’s management of COVID-19 had been ‘top of the class’, new home build starts are at near record highs, and the recent NAB Business Survey showing SA has the highest business confidence in the nation.
“South Australia continues to punch well above its weight in relation to our strong, ongoing economic and jobs growth and our management of the pandemic, to date – with South Australians working together to keep our state safe and our economy strong – is paying dividends,” said Mr Lucas.
“Our unemployment rate has dropped 0.5 percentage points to 5.3 per cent – a rate not seen since 2012 – and there are more South Australians employed now than before the pandemic.”
“However, we know there’s much more work to be done, which is why we are investing record amounts in stimulus and infrastructure investment to continue to turbo charge the state’s economy and create thousands of local jobs.”