Centre Alliance 2019 budget statement
Centre Alliance welcomes what is clearly an election budget - in fact, it seems to have taken inspiration from the LEGO Movie because the Treasurer wants us all to think “everything is awesome”.
The Budget pledges $2.6b to infrastructure in South Australia which is a very welcome injection but it fails to direct funds at critical rail and seaport infrastructure necessary to unlock more than $15b in mining and renewable energy projects.
The population of South Australia is falling in proportion to other states and these projects are necessary to drive the economic growth and boost the population.
Centre Alliance also welcomes the investment in tertiary skills training, in particular in regions with high youth unemployment. We expect the state will be a significant beneficiary of this but we note that the Budget is silent on where exactly the investments will be made.
SA has a number of projects in the wings ... Iron Road, GFG, the Whyalla steelworks upgrade, Olympic dam expansion, Leigh Creek Energy Project, Braemar Province mines and the Naval Shipbuilding Program and these will require 15,000 workers into the future. We expect skills training to target these.
We are particularly disappointed that the Government hasn't maintained funding for the industry mentoring program for apprentices. It supported 45,000 apprentices over two years and industry bodies such as the MTAA in SA reported a retention rate of 95% under the program compared to 50% without it. The Budget's 80,000 new apprenticeships over five years is great, but that needs to be 80,000 completed apprenticeships.
We are also concerned that the extra 10,000 Home Care Packages announced in the budget will not meaningfully address the current waiting list of 128,000 people nationally.