Details ahead of the 2020/21 SA budget

Tim Dornin
·2-min read

THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUDGET:

THE BOTTOM LINE:

* A GST shortfall of more than $1.3 billion for 2020/21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic will hit the SA budget hard, taking real and projected GST writedowns over the four years to 2021/22 to $5.2 billion

* Lower returns and stimulus spending will likely push the budget deficit to more than $2 billion in 2020/21 after a $1.9 billion slide into the red in 2019/20

* Before the pandemic hit, the government had forecast a surplus of $94 million this year and $105 million next year

THE SPENDING SO FAR:

* An extra $2 billion in stimulus to help save and create jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, taking the state's rescue funding to $4 billion

* An extra $15 million for mental health support during the pandemic

* A $35 million allocation for new community sports infrastructure

* $17 million to boost nature-based tourism across South Australia with a focus on revitalising parks in the Flinders Ranges, Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, Fleurieu Peninsula, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills

* An $18 million spend to increase the uptake of electric vehicles through the development of a statewide charging network and a commitment to transition the state government's fleet to electric cars

* A $16 million boost to the state's aquatic research sector

* A second round of $10,000 cash grants to small businesses and non-profit organisations taking support for the sector during COVID-19 to $250 million

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE GOVERNMENT:

* Premier Steven Marshall has earned praise for his handling of the health issues during COVID-19 and is now looking to deliver on the issue of economic recovery

* With a focus on infrastructure and other projects that can start quickly and be completed in two years, the government will look to this budget to return employment levels to pre-pandemic levels or even improve on them

* For Treasurer Rob Lucas, this will be his second to last budget before he retires from politics at the 2022 state poll. Unveiling such a big deficit will be tough for the conservative financial manager, but he'll likely be judged on how the state recovers from the health crisis and not just on this year's red ink.