Supply Bill 2017

Mr Duluk (Davenport) (17:11): I also would like to make a contribution on the Supply Bill 2017. I think we all know that it is a pretty important bit of machinery that keeps us ticking along and keeps us paying our bills and debts, which is most important. The Supply Bill is also an annual marker that gives us an opportunity to reflect on the previous 12 months, a chance to stop and consider the work of the state government and government expenditure over this period.

The first observation I would like to make is that the government's request for supply under this 2017 bill is for $5.9 billion from the Consolidated Account. In recent years, the appropriation requested under the Supply Bill has been quite a bit less: in 2014, it was $3.94 billion; in 2015, it was $3.291 billion; and in 2016 it was $3.44 billion. We have jumped to $5.9 billion under appropriation, and I would be keen to hear from those opposite as to why this increase in appropriation of $2.5 billion is on the table.

This is my third opportunity to speak on supply in this house. As I said, it is another opportunity to reflect on past achievements, or part thereof, to consider the wellbeing of South Australians and to see whether there has been an improvement for them over the past 12 months. Unfortunately, there has been very little improvement in the economic life of the average South Australian. As the member for Hammond so rightly pointed out, energy and electricity is one of the biggest issues facing our state right now.

In the last 12 months, we have seen unprecedented power blackouts, including the statewide blackout in September that has caused huge economic distress to South Australians, small businesses and individuals alike. Decreasing reliability on South Australia's energy market is pushing up the price of electricity for individuals and small, medium and large businesses alike. The price of electricity affects businesses, from mum-and-dad businesses to our huge manufacturers and energy users, such as Adelaide Brighton Cement.

If we do not improve and do something soon about the cost of electricity in South Australia, we will see more financial distress for individuals and we will see more businesses leaving the state as they just cannot compete. The state of our state has been deteriorating. South Australia's gross state product grew by only 1.9 per cent in 2015-16, compared with 2.8 per cent nationally, and only Tasmania and Western Australia recorded slower growth rates.

To the year ended September 2016, South Australia lost 6,484 people. One of the biggest issues causing so much economic hardship and structural inefficiencies in our economy is people leaving our state year on year, and especially young people leaving our state year on year. I know that this is something I bang on about so often, and I know that it is an issue we talk about on this side of the house so often, but if young people cannot stay in Adelaide they leave. It is a simple matter of fact, and this government has done very little to reverse that fortune.

Back in February 2010, Labor promised that they would create 100,000 new jobs. The reality is that only about 20,000 new jobs have been created since February 2010, and the vast majority of those increases have been in the Public Service. Very few private sector jobs have been created since 2010 when former premier Rann got up and promised 100,000 jobs.

The 2015-16 state budget was earmarked as the jobs budget, yet current trend unemployment is sitting at 6.6 per cent, the highest in the nation, and our seasonally adjusted unemployment is sitting at the second highest in the nation. For the last two years, the Treasurer has come out and banged on about the importance of his jobs budget and how it would improve the unemployment rate in South Australia. The reality is that today, two years after the 2015 state budget, we have the highest trend unemployment in the nation, and unemployment is a huge scourge.

The scourge of unemployment—the scourge of not having a job, the scourge of not having full-time work and the scourge of unemployment and the isolation that it brings, the frustration that it brings, the dislocation that it brings and the disunity and harm that it brings to families—is possibly the biggest single issue that faces an individual. So many people, especially long-term unemployed, feel that they cannot participate in society. If you cannot participate in society, you are increasingly led to isolation, and increasing isolation has so many detrimental effects on you as an individual and the community you live in. To fix the scourge of unemployment, together with energy, should be the absolute number one priority for this government.

We need to fix this issue of unemployment. We need to do more than we are doing at the moment. We need to do more, and we also need to acknowledge that this government set its goal for its jobs program and its jobs budget, but it has failed. Because of that, our economy is stagnant. As I said, young people are deserting our state. They are young and talented future leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. They are all leaving our state, and it is unlikely that they will return. Unfortunately, there has not been a lot to celebrate in recent years on the job front.

To highlight that point, I would like to read out some of the well-known South Australian companies that have either closed or downsized since the last election in 2014. Penrice has lost close to 200 jobs in South Australia, ForestrySA has lost about 66 jobs and Pacific Services Group, about 100 job losses.

Nyrstar has seen constant job losses in Port Pirie. Arnott's has seen the loss of about 120 jobs; Pacific Brands, a loss of over 100 jobs; Ingham's Aldinga Turkeys, about 79 jobs; ACI, 60; Caroma, about 76; Treasury Wine, close to 50; and ABC Adelaide has seen huge reductions. Holden, of course, has seen hundreds of job losses, and the closure of Holden will have a huge impact on the community in our northern suburbs.

Arrium has lost 500 jobs; Santos continues to shed jobs; BHP, of course, has seen a lot of retrenchment and job losses; Monroe's; SA Outreach, about 400 jobs; Fairfax in South Australia; Beach Energy; Unibooks, about 100 jobs; University of Adelaide; Australia Post; Alinta; Arrium; Tagara; Schweppes in Payneham, an iconic South Australian brand; and yesterday we heard that News Limited was also downsizing in South Australia.

These are some of the big employers who have shed their workforce in South Australia over time. There are some really big structural issues that we need to look at. The majority of jobs that have been lost have been well-paid jobs, so there is the whole issue of taxation revenue affecting the state and, of course, the people's ability to spend and consume in our economy, which is so important.

The latest NAB Monthly Business Survey shows a downturn in business conditions and business confidence in South Australia. We are the only state in the country to record a fall in business conditions in March this year, and we are one of only two states to record a reduction in business confidence. The CommSec State of the States report ranks South Australia seventh out of eight states in terms of economic performance. They include the territories in their measurement. Our leading banks and our leading economists all point to serious issues in the South Australian economy.

At the same time that state government expenditure has increased by almost $2.5 billion, which has been requested through appropriation, our state has been in sharp decline. The ineptitude of this Labor government is exemplified by the blatant waste of taxpayer money we see across the board. The government's PR juggernaut continues on a daily basis. The government has spent almost a million dollars to make the public more enthusiastic about the opening of the NRAH and half a million dollars to spruik its half a billion dollar energy plan. The government is wasting your money to make you feel good about an energy crisis the government has created. It is very Orwellian.

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were spent last year on the Premier's eight-week spin campaign to make us feel good about the state's jobless rate. It is one of the greatest ironies that we are going to spruik South Australian economic conditions and how poor they are with a jobless campaign. In my letterbox the other day, I received an advertising flyer spruiking changes to Noarlunga Hospital—taxpayers being told about a cut to services in their own hospital.

This government is wasting about $2.6 million on public servants' car parks that are not used and about $2 million on office sites that sit empty. It goes on and on. We see about $300,000 being spent on minister Bignell's travel, which goes on and on, and we are paying for his Argentinian wine. South Australians have to pay for chief executives to commute from out of town every weekend. We constantly see government waste and spin. We see South Australia wasting money on rebranding of child protection.

We constantly see waste upon waste upon waste because this government has no solution. It does not believe in the private sector. It wants to be the only corporation in town. We are a one company town. Living in South Australia is almost like living in North Korea at the moment. The government, being the only company in town, needs to tell everyone that it is the only company in town and does everything in its power to push out private investment as it is doing in the energy market at the moment. It says, 'We want to be in charge and we will waste your taxpayer money to let you know we are in charge.'

We do not see money being invested in South Australia businesses. I would much prefer to see the millions of dollars spent on government advertising being put back into local businesses. It is certainly not being spent on our hospitals because we know we are closing hospital beds and because Transforming Health is all about saving money. We know it is not being spent on our roads— certainly not the roads in my community.

My constituents are very angry about the government's performance. They are very angry about high unemployment. My older residents are particularly angry about the need for their children and grandchildren to move interstate. They are angry about the closure of services such as the Repat in their community. More than anything, they are angry at the arrogance of this government, with their lack of consultation and the tin ear of this government. The small businesses in my electorate are angry that they do not have a reliable energy supply. They are disgusted that child protection is an ongoing issue. On my office window I have the front pages of The Advertiser regarding child protection available for people to see—the number of people who come past my office and stop to read about the disgrace that is child protection in this state. It really irks South Australians, and I do not know if the government knows about that. As I said, they do not like to listen to the real concerns of South Australians.

On a daily basis, I hear about the detrimental effects of Transforming Health from my local residents and medical practitioners. They are dismayed at the way this government is going about that. They are pretty disappointed with road funding throughout my area. As everyone in this house knows, I constantly bang on about the roads in the Mitcham Hills, including the Blackwood roundabout. I had the opportunity yesterday to ask the Minister for Transport some questions about the Blackwood roundabout funding, and in his answer to one of my questions the minister confirmed that the Blackwood roundabout falls outside what he considers to be 'incredibly important upgrades'.

Minister, for those people in my community, and even as reported by AAMI, fixing the Blackwood roundabout is indeed an incredibly important priority. However, it is not a priority for this Labor government and it is not a priority for anyone who supports this Labor government, whether or not they purport to be a member of the government. The Blackwood roundabout is a key road for daily commuters and it is simply dismissed as not important enough by this government.

I say to my residents in Blackwood, Coromandel Valley, Craigburn Farm, Eden Hills, Bellevue Heights, Hawthorndene and beyond into Happy Valley and Aberfoyle Park: this government does not care about you. They know that you use this roundabout every day on the way to work, school and the shops, but for 15 years this government has ignored your interests. They have drawn a line through the infrastructure needs of your community, and I think that is an absolute disgrace.

Residents and passengers on the Belair train line are frustrated that the government has failed to invest in infrastructure that facilitates and encourages the use of this passenger service. Park-and-ride facilities have long been promised by this government, but with so much spin and waste they cannot find any funds to deliver on their 2014 election promise. They cannot find funds to purchase the ARTC site adjacent to the Eden Hills train station which has been used as an unofficial car park by Belair passengers for many years until its recent closure.

To build a strong, prosperous South Australia we must improve business conditions and business confidence. We must increase business profitability and induce investment into our state. We must be committed to building a pro business climate. The South Australian Liberal team is the team that can build that environment. We are committed to lowering costs and reducing the tax burden on businesses and households.

We are committed to cutting red tape and unnecessary regulation. It is red tape that is one of those evils that lurks in our economy, and it is red tape that makes businesses less competitive. It is red tape that forces mum-and-dad small business owners to stay up late on weeknights and weekends filling out paperwork, ensuring that compliance is undertaken. It means that they are not spending time with their family and it means they are not spending time reinvesting in their businesses because they are dealing with business red tape.

On this side of the house, as a future Liberal government we will be investing in projects that drive economic activity in South Australia, and Globe Link will be one of those drivers of economic activity. We know that over the last 15 years South Australia's share of national merchandise exports has shrunk from 7.3 per cent to 4.3 per cent. If we are to be a prosperous state again, if we are to be a state with low unemployment, an efficient state where our farmers and manufacturers and exporters do the very best they can, we really need to improve our share of exports. We need to have efficient transport whether it be road, rail or air. Globe Link will lead to those efficiencies.

We know that by 2030 the freight line that goes through metropolitan Adelaide in the Mitcham Hills in my community through the Adelaide Hills will be at its capacity. We know we need to do something to fix that up. By increasing infrastructure efficiencies in our export and freight networks, we will improve supply chain efficiencies and we will improve market competitiveness, and ultimately this will lead to lower costs to consumers at the retail point of the market. Efficient and effective transport networks are also fundamental to deepening markets. They bring businesses closer to new markets, creating more opportunities, and closer to existing markets, improving accessibility and competitiveness. They also promote innovation and a more active economy.

Improving exports and investing in infrastructure is actually one of the best things you can do to reduce unemployment. That is why the South Australian Liberal team is committed to Globe Link and that is why I will support it every step of the way. Globe Link will transform our economic capacity. It will provide that generational upgrade for our freight infrastructure that will last us for decades to come. As I said, it will help our farmers and our industrial, agricultural and food sectors. We need to compete, and we are in a highly competitive environment.

The reality is that our existing infrastructure is simply not up to scratch. The government's plan, in terms of road freight, includes having heavy rigid trucks and B-doubles going down Cross Road. It wants to ensure that double-stack trains 1.9 kilometres long keep going through the Mitcham Hills. This is not efficient public infrastructure. This is not infrastructure that will lead to export growth and lower unemployment. We need alternative routes when it comes to export opportunities, and the South Australian Liberal Party is committed to improving the economic conditions of this state.