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MORRISON DELIVERS SOUTH AUSTRALIANS A PAYBACK BUDGET

29 March 2022

The Morrison Government has delivered a payback Budget to South Australians in response to their electing of Labor Premier Peter Malinauskas.

The 2022 -23 Budget is a budget that delivers very little to South Australians.

The percentage of infrastructure spend for SA has gone from 22% last year to only 16% this year.

South Australia has also been left out of the Government’s regional transformational infrastructure program targeting the Northern Territory, North and Central Queensland, the Pilbara and Hunter with $7.1 billion for infrastructure, low emission technology and energy production, resources extraction and processing and water infrastructure to open up new frontiers of production and growth. This snub is a slap in the face to South Australia's regions.

In terms of infrastructure, SA has received its usual “all you get its roads” budget allocation. Much of the money in roads for SA are just reannouncements.

The Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to space over the next two decades is welcomed with $12.1 million over 5 years for launch offsets costs, something that Senator Patrick has pushed for at each and every Senate Estimates since the Space Agency’s inception. $65.7 million has also been allocated to fast-track the launch of space assets and research projects by Australian businesses and researchers.

Whilst $104 million has been set aside for Collins Submarine Life of Type Extension, the absence of the Future Submarine project from the Government’s local jobs graphic offers South Australians a brutal truth - the Government have no intention of building submarines in South Australia this decade, if ever.

The one shining light was the cut to the fuel excise which I was the first to call for five weeks ago. This is the value of independents in Parliament who agitate for real outcomes for all Australians. Sadly, the six-month timeframe for the fuel excise cut will not be long enough, with conflict in Ukraine and the resulting Russian sanctions likely to continue for some time.

There is also danger in this Budget for the Murray-Darling with the Government allocating $97 million over two years for the Healthy Rivers-Healthy Communities initiative. Often these programs fund irrigation programs in the Northern Basin and deliver very little in terms of water back to the River. Other water programs in the Budget present risks of being an alpha irrigator's wet dream, with ample spending available to benefit them while the environment misses out. There appears to be nothing in the Budget to deliver the 448GL shortfall of environmental water promised to South Australia in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The underspend on last year’s ICAC allocation was noticeable.