Mr DULUK (Waite) (17:39):
I am very glad to speak to this Supply Bill, which is of course seeking to appropriate approximately $6.631 billion from the Consolidated Account for payments of very important services for the people of South Australia by Her Majesty's government. The focus of the 2018-19 state budget, which of course is going to be handed down in September, will be the implementation of this new Marshall government's commitments as well as developing into the longer run a sustainable budget position. We have just—obviously last week—had the federal budget, and I must commend Treasurer Morrison and the federal Liberal government for their return to surplus, predicted in the coming years, and to that sustainable budget position by then.
It is Liberal governments that deliver sensible budgets, and it is Liberal governments that always fix up Labor's mess. It was the Brown-Olsen-Kerin governments that fixed up South Australia's mess after the State Bank, it was of course the Howard-Costello duo that got Australia's finances back on track after the Hawke-Keating fiasco, and it is going to be this Marshall Liberal government that over time does its bit to repair this state's fortunes. Over the last 16 years of Labor, we have seen nothing but debt and deficit, debt and deficit.
The member for Torrens is shaking her head. When the government did show a budget surplus, it was on the back of privatisation. The most recent one was on the back of the lands titles privatisation and the motor accident division privatisation. Reading today's press, I note a little catch for the people of South Australia, courtesy of a parting gift of the former Labor government: another $100 million blow to the state budget. There are a number of election commitments that are aligned with the government's first 100 days, and the passing of this Supply Bill is essential for the timely delivery of these commitments while the 2018-19 budget is being finalised.
Some of the election commitments that the Marshall Liberal government will be prioritising include, of course, creating a more competitive place to do business in South Australia through a range of initiatives such as scrapping payroll tax for small businesses, deregulating shop trading hours to allow businesses to remain open and cutting land tax. There is the slashing of ESL bills, as the member for Davenport so rightly alluded to in his speech.
Cost of living is a huge issue for South Australians; it really is. Whether it is in the member for Davenport's electorate or in mine, or in the member for Heysen's or in the member for Hammond's or in the member for Unley's electorate, we know that when we are talking to our constituents, the number one grizzle is how expensive it is to live in South Australia. The biggest imposts that have increased year on year are state government rates, fees and charges. It is our desire and it will be our aim to do our bit to ensure that South Australians can have an enjoyable standard of living in this state, because that is the right thing to do. Policies that we are implementing include increased public transport, and that has already happened. I commend the transport minister for improving train times on the Belair line through my community and the bus services as well. Another policy, over the term of this Marshall government, is to develop our vision for the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, including an innovation incubator; start-up and growth hub; an international centre for tourism, hospitality and food services; and a national gallery.
Investing in defence is so important. We will be creating new apprenticeships and traineeships. It is fantastic that the member for Unley is the new minister in relation to apprenticeships and traineeships because this is how he started his working life. It is really commendable on this side of the house that we have ministers in portfolios where they have a bit of an idea of what is going on because they have been there themselves and done the hard yards.
Capping council rates, participating in affordable and reliable energy strategies, reopening the Repat as a genuine health precinct—which is so important to my community—and a comprehensive program to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students are just some of the election agenda items that will be pursued in the 2018-19 state budget. As I said, I am very happy to be supporting this bill. The budget is just one way in which we will meet our election commitments. I look forward to the coming months, especially in September to see the vision of our Treasurer (the Hon. Rob Lucas in the other place) for the people of South Australia.
Before I go on, I just want touch on a few comments made by the member for Lee. I believe the member for Lee started his contribution at about 10 to 10 last night. I would be really keen to see the viewing audience on the live stream at midnight. Clerk that would be something to talk about with the new Speaker. If we can somehow track that in the future, we can see how many people were listening because I doubt there were very many at all. If they were insomniacs, I think they would have been cured of insomnia. For two hours last night and for almost another hour today, the member for Lee reminded us so eloquently why Labor is no longer in government. It was two hours of platitudes, motherhood statements and, quite frankly, delusion. One of the first statements the member for Lee made yesterday is, and I quote:
The Premier was very quick to tell us in that answer that the Liberal Party had made some 300 commitments in the lead-up to the last state election and each and every one of them would be delivered.
He then went on to criticise us, saying we would not be meeting those commitments. In our 100-day plan we have quite a lot of commitments that we are rolling out and meeting—and we will meet those commitments. Not all the 300 commitments that we took to the election will be delivered in the first 100 days, and nor should they be. Quite a lot of our commitments require genuine community consultation, something which those opposite never did during their time and government.
I always think it is quite ironic when those opposite lecture us about election commitments. There are two really big election commitments. I had the pledge card from former premier Rann, co-signed by then ALP state secretary, the Hon. Ian Hunter from the other place, upon which they made two big election commitments, especially in the lead-up to the 2010 election. One was to never, ever sell the Repat. Lo and behold, Labor tried its absolute very best to sell the Repat. The other big Labor lie was the commitment to create 100,000 new jobs in six years, from 2010. The member for Davenport would be keen to note that, as it stands now, eight years down the track, the Labor Party probably created about 80,000 jobs in South Australia. To give credit where credit is due, quite a lot of that jobs growth has come in the last 12 to 18 months, which is fantastic for the state. They are two glaring Labor lies and election promises that were never met. The other big Labor lie, which I always love, is that Labor left the government in surplus. Once again, the member for Lee in this contribution last night said, and I quote:
I am pleased to say that the groundwork has been laid out in what the former Labor government have left this new government. They inherit a budget in surplus.
Of course, it would seem to be in his political interest to confect a budget deficit outcome for the 2017-18 financial year, to be painted as the last financial year of the former Labor administration before swiftly moving into a budget surplus position for the financial year 2018-19 onwards.
The reality is that if you look at last year's state budget, and the year before and the year before that, and then go through the forward estimates and then back to look at contributions from the privatisation of state government assets, the state budget had an underlying deficit in each and every year. The paper surplus, which was printed in the budget documents, was there on the back of Labor's privatisation agenda. It was not there through a revenue and expense position. The reality is that every household and business in Australia knows that it is a phantom surplus to have one on the back of asset sales. The Treasurer, the Hon. Rob Lucas from the other place, recently told ABC radio:
It will be impossible for the 2017-18 budget to be in surplus given the problems that we are uncovering, and in particular the health issues, the hospital issues and those sort of budget pressures.
Once again, the Treasurer was quoted on the ABC, saying:
Further blowouts in health, along with Labor's pre-election spending spree and softer than anticipated revenues are certainly going to more than wipe out a $12 million projected surplus.
Once again, the Treasurer was on the record, saying:
The general problems in health remained unresolved as we arrived in March, and you add to that the continuing challenge of child protection and an additional challenge in relation to TAFE, because of a catastrophe that befell TAFE in the last 12 to 18 months, plus significant revenue improvements which were advertised are highly unlikely to be met this year.
The member for Lee would have us believe that the Treasurer was telling porky pies when he made those statements to the press in previous weeks, but this is what we inherited. We inherited a multitude of Labor sins that are going to take time to rectify. It is only prudent that we are up-front with the people of South Australia because that is what they expect from good government. They expect to be told when the news is not good and they expect to not have the wool pulled over their eyes.
There are quite a lot of issues. Once again, the member for Lee in his contribution last night, and again today, talked about Labor's fantastic record in the Investment Attraction agency. The reality is that corporate South Australia has been used to a former government that has been hellbent on picking winners in the way that it produces corporate welfare. We all know this is not best practice. What we need to do, and as we have said as a government that we will continue to do, is to improve business conditions in South Australia and, of course, create a level playing field.
Since the March state election, Deloitte Access Economics has released its first quarter business outlook for the nation and has found that South Australia may soon take over the other states and may soon be given the title of 'fastest growth in the nation'. This is actually a very good thing. It is good to see South Australia trending in the right direction. Of course, we are coming off a very, very low base, and that is why our state policy suites that we brought to the people in the last state election around cuts to business transaction costs—whether it be stamp duties, payroll tax or land tax—coupled with the very sensible tax reform agenda that Treasurer Morrison handed down and his desire to see more low to middle income Australians (and in particular South Australians) benefit from cuts in personal income tax, I think are going to create the right setting for a better South Australia.
I am optimistic that the future for South Australia is always going to be better when we are blue—when the Liberal Party is on the Treasury benches, both in Canberra and in South Australia, because we understand the importance of supporting small business and the importance of supporting families. In the lead-up to the last election, we said we would not match Labor's huge spending promises. In the lead-up to the last election, the ALP went to the people of South Australia with a $2 billion spending commitment. Quite a lot of them were very worthy commitments. Spending $1.3 billion on level crossings was a very worthy commitment. Investing $150 million into the Housing Trust and the ports authority was very important.
I am not sure if I agreed with their $279 million plan to extend the tram to Norwood and North Adelaide. Whilst some elements of the package for the Port Adelaide Football Club was welcome in what it was focused on, I do not think we should be favouring one football club over another in this state, especially when we have a footy club that is the team for all South Australians. However, there were one or two election promises around capital infrastructure that were worthy, but quite a lot of Labor's election promises were nothing more than uncosted figures on the fly to try to save a 16- year-old government.
On our side of the fence, I believe that we took some very sensible components of spending policies and modest costings to the election, including striving to achieve operating surpluses over the forward estimates; an efficiency dividend similar to Labor's and in line with the former government's efficiency dividends; a $75 million cut over three years in consultants and contractors for government; a $15 million cut over three years in government advertising and communications; and abolition of certain boards that really have not driven investment in South Australia. In terms of some local election commitments and policies that I briefly want to touch on—and I do most of the time—I know that the infrastructure minister will be happy when we finalise the Blackwood roundabout because then I will not be talking about that commitment every single week, as I have over the last three years in the house. The member for Unley is certainly sick of it.
We are investing in local roads, which is actually really important. It is not just local roads in my community, which we have understood, but also local roads in the member for Heysen's electorate, Flagstaff Road in the member for Davenport's electorate, roads in the member for Narungga's electorate and also in country South Australia, where they know the importance of road investment as well.
Over previous years, we have spoken a lot—and the Minister for Primary Industries talked about it today as well—about investment in the regions, which is so important, and about the economic benefits that South Australia needs to really push in terms of exports and our export agenda because it is an export agenda that actually creates wealth. So often, on this side of the house, we have been looking over the Tasman at an example of a Liberal government—the Key National Party coalition government in New Zealand—that, in its term of government, was really focused on exports. New Zealand is a nation that does not manufacture a single motor vehicle and never has. It is a nation that imports fossil fuels for its industry, but it is a nation that has supported and looked after its agricultural sectors to drive economic growth.
At the beginning of my address, I touched on the Repat, and in my electorate it is one of the biggest single issues that people talk to me about, as it is in the member for Elder's electorate and in the member for Davenport's electorate. I am very proud that the Liberal government is continuing with its reform, renewing and revitalisation of the Repat as a health precinct. I find it quite incredible, and in a way a little bit disappointing, that not more has been made of this.
The Labor Party, after saying that they would never sell the Repat, were prepared to flog it for only $20 million. At least if they were going to go the whole hog and privatise it, you would have thought they would put in the DPA themselves and got a developer. They could have got Lang Walker or someone down at Gillman to look at the whole redevelopment, but to flog that parcel of land for a $20 million consideration is absolutely offensive. It just goes to show that the former government, if they were not reckless, were certainly stupid in their decisions. I am very proud that this government, the Premier and the minister in the other place are working to ensure that the Repat is opened as a health precinct, which is so important.
Rate capping was another really big issue that we took to the election. The former minister for local government, the member for Unley, really kickstarted the conversation five or six years ago about the need for us to reform rate capping as part of a cost-of-living suite of policies that we took to the election. Of course, the LGA decided to spend $177,000 of your money and the taxpayers' money fighting us and that policy, and to date there is still no retraction from the LGA. We on this side recognise that cost of living is a really big issue.
Another sleeper issue which we have inherited from the previous government, but which is something we need to be mindful about as well on this side of the house, is youth unemployment. The scourge of unemployment is the biggest scourge that faces society and individuals. More than a third of the total of unemployed people in Australia are aged between 15 and 24 years of age, so it is really important that we deal with this issue of youth unemployment. It does not matter if it is in the north, west or south of Adelaide, unemployment is a really big issue.
In the time that I have left, I will say that jobs and apprenticeships are a really big and important part of our commitment, our pledge to invest almost $100 million in matched funding with the federal government. I would also like to briefly touch on our plan to scrap payroll tax. Payroll tax is one of the most insidious taxes there is. It is pleasing to see that the opposition have agreed to meet us some of the way in our payroll tax reform, and we will certainly be seeking to push that.