Appropriation Bill 2017: Appropriation Grievances

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (21:03): 'Sam Duluk, he works for a big bank.' That was the literature that the ALP put out on polling day in my by-election. They did a precis of me and my opponent, and my crime was that I worked for a big bank. At the time, I was just a humble business bank manager at the ANZ bank, a bank that employs thousands of South Australians and tens of thousands of Australians, as all the big banks do in South Australia and Australia. They employ thousands of South Australians.

They employ part-time mum-and-dad tellers in suburban branches, they employ hardworking people in the community who work for these banks, and they spend and donate tens of millions of dollars per annum to the community. I am sure the Westpac helipad will be at the NRAH as part of the health minister's new project. The banks are an important part of the community, but the Labor Party hate the banks.

They hated the banks in the eighties and nineties and that is why we had the State Bank, and of course today they hate the banks in this state budget as well, and they hate people who work for banks. They hated me on my election day, and they tried to defame me for working for a big bank, but that did not work. The people of my electorate saw that there is actually nothing wrong with working for a big bank

There is nothing wrong with working for a big bank. Of course, in the context of this debate, and in the state budget, this is not about me defending the big banks, or about the Liberal Party being friends with the bank. It is not about the bank tax that will actually hurt investment in South Australia. It is just about tax. It is about tax, it is about jobs and, of course, it is about this state budget.

Those opposite have sold almost all that they can sell in order to prop up their budget. They sold the Motor Accident Commission, they sold the rotations in the forests, they have done what they can where they can. They have this big hole to plug in their pre-election state budget, and who do they go to? Instead of making hard decisions, instead of making the right structural decisions over the last 15 or 16 years that have been required for South Australia, they go after the big bad banks, and it is an absolute disgrace by those opposite. It completely misunderstands what tax is about, how an economy works, and what the main drivers of an economic system are. If we do not have a strong banking sector, we do not have a strong economy, and that is absolutely what we need in South Australia.

Taxing those engines of investment, of decision-making, is not where we need to be at all, and it is not going to solve the problem that we are facing in South Australia, with this job crisis that we have. The headline budget is all very sexy and it all seems to add up nicely. There is a nice surplus there and there is a tax on the bank, which everyone opposite loves, but when you delve into those budget numbers, which we will a bit more as estimates come on, you actually see the real numbers in this budget after 16 years of hard Labor.

I digress for a moment because, on the way back to the chamber, I called into FIVEaa this evening. I was talking to Ted from Salisbury who was calling in. He was saying that you cannot trust the Liberals and give Labor one more go. This was with Andrew Reimer about an hour ago. I said, 'Ted, Labor have put in 16 years of hard Labor. It's actually time to give the Liberals a go because we have the right policy settings that will benefit South Australia. We have the policy settings that will change and decrease unemployment in South Australia.'

At the moment, unemployment is trending at 7.1 per cent—the highest in the nation. That is the legacy of those opposite. That is the legacy of 16 years of Labor. In relation to underutilisation, 16.6 per cent of the labour force is either unemployed or underemployed. That is the legacy of 16 years of hard Labor. Jobs growth has been about 1.9 per cent since 2015. Nationally, it is 3.7 per cent. That is the legacy of 16 years of hard Labor. Jobs growth predicted in this year's budget is 1 per cent. So, we have this huge $19 billion state budget.

This is the jobs budget that is going to save South Australia for the third year in a row but, of course, this huge jobs budget can only provide 1 per cent job growth over the next 12 months, whereas jobs growth nationally is chugging along at a very respectable 3.7 per cent, which is testament to a lot of the good work of the federal government. Jobs growth predicted by the SA Centre for Economic Studies is 0.75 per cent in 2017-18, and again 0.75 per cent in 2018-19. Net interstate migration is 6,484 people lost interstate in the last year of 2016.

This evening, before coming back to the house, I had the opportunity to attend a citizenship ceremony in Blackwood, right in the heart of my electorate and the new electorate of Waite, and it was fantastic to see so many people becoming new citizens and choosing my community to live in. There was one person with whom I spoke after the ceremony. He told me that he lives in Adelaide, but his daughter has gone to Melbourne to study. So, we even have new Australians who have been here for four or five years, who want to stay in South Australia but the children are already leaving and going to Melbourne and Sydney. They are part of that exodus. We cannot even keep new migrants in South Australia and new Australian citizens in our community at the moment.

As I said before, in relation to economic growth, 1.9 per cent is our gross state product. It is 2.8 per cent nationally. That is the result of 16 years of hard Labor. Net debt is $13.8 billion in 2017-18 and expected to peak at almost $15 billion in 2019-20. That net debt is costing us about $717 million per year to service that debt. That is $717 million of interest that we pay on that debt that cannot be spent on hospitals, roads, schools and public transport because we are servicing Labor's debt that they have racked up after 16 years of hard Labor.

One of those big, bad banks put out the CommSec report, which ranks South Australia seventh out of eight jurisdictions in terms of economic performance. I assume we cannot trust the report because, of course, it has been put out by a big, bad bank that does not like South Australia, if you are to believe what the Treasurer and the Premier were saying today. Property rates and charges are going up another 2.9 per cent. SA's share of Australian economic output was only 6 per cent. Our population sits at about 7 per cent. This is the sober reality of what we are seeing at the moment. This is the sober reality of the Treasurer's hard work.

We have seen private capital expenditure in SA remaining restrained and even stagnant, and of course we know that private investment is the stimulus for employment and growth. Private investment generates jobs and it generates economic activity. A disincentive to investment in any business—and anyone will tell you and the member for Flinders will tell you—would be high rates of tax. A bank tax would be a disincentive to do business in South Australia. High energy costs are a huge disincentive, especially if you are a manufacturer or you are running a pub, or even if you are running a local sandwich shop on a main strip anywhere in South Australia it is a huge disincentive to investment.

We have some of the worst education outcomes at the moment in South Australia. In the long run, that means we are going to see an exodus of people, and of course that is a disincentive to investment. Our population growth has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. Low population growth in turn becomes a disincentive for investment. But something like the bank tax, as we know, is a huge disincentive, especially in a jurisdiction such as South Australia. So not a federal bank tax but a state bank tax imposed only in South Australia is a disincentive to investment because it allows capital outflow. Of course, we know that capital is most important.

As I was driving this evening, I was listening to the Premier on 729 ABC and he was talking about the wonderful investment from the UK and overseas conglomerate to bail out Arrium, and rightly so, as it is fantastic. Foreign investment is most important, and it is foreign investment and all types of investment that help our industry grow, so we should welcome foreign investment and we should welcome all types of investment in South Australia in South Australian jobs. By having a bank tax, it is actually a tax on investment.

If we want to turn around our fortunes, if we want to increase economic activity, if we want to keep South Australians in South Australia, having their families and buying houses and enjoying the beautiful lifestyle we have, then we have to do everything we can not to have those disincentives on investment. This is not about us on this side of the house being great friends with the banks and these big scary people, as the Treasurer and the Premier would have us believe. This is about doing all we can to ensure that we have fantastic investment in South Australia. And bad taxes are bad for investment.