Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (17:06): I am pleased to continue to make some additional remarks in relation to the Supply Bill process through the house. Yesterday, I talked about some transport-related issues, transport infrastructure and roads, road safety, and those very important matters that we all need to be mindful of in this place. That is absolutely a key area of importance and passion of mine. Another area of importance, and something that I have spoken about at length and will continue to talk about, is the water prescription process in the western Mount Lofty Ranges. That process has been running probably for over a decade, at least 10 years, probably closer to 12 years. I would have to look it up in my diary, but I clearly remember going to the first meetings held at the Lenswood research centre, where government officials came out and started raising the issue of water prescription in the western Mount Lofty Ranges. I probably had been elected for only a year or two, so it has been running for over a decade, maybe 12 years.
I have to say that it has been an absolute shambles. The way the government has handled this matter has been an absolute shambles. The process has run for over a decade and not be finalised: it has been a mess. The department initially got the science wrong. It did not understand the complexities of the resource. It had to go back and rework a whole lot of technical information and form smaller community committee groups to work through each of the individual regions within the Greater Western Mount Lofty Ranges region. We are at the point where allocations have been made to each individual farmer, but we are getting to the pointy end of the process where the water levy amount is being pitched by the local NRM board.
Irrigators received a letter three or four months ago saying that the water levy was going to be $7 per kilolitre. That raised the ire of local farming industry groups, and then they received another letter saying that the NRM board decided to reduce it to $6. We are still not tremendously happy with that.
I have spoken to my colleagues and talked to the member for Ashford, who is chair of the Natural Resources Committee in the parliament, and it is my understanding that the Natural Resources Committee, which has some oversight of these matters, particularly the natural resources management levies they charge each and every landholder in the region, and also some oversight in relation to water allocation levies, is working through that process, looking to take some evidence on it and make some recommendations.
I have to say that this whole process has been running for more than a decade in an important part of the state and, as I said, the government has made a complete hash of this, a complete mess of this process. It is really an illustration of how the government has managed things overall in the past 13 years since it has been in government: it has made a hash and a mess of pretty well everything it has touched over that period of time.
If we look at the different situations that each one of the ministers has facing them at the moment—each one of the ministers along the front bench—it is like a fire burning on all fronts. They have bushfires burning on all fronts in government. The Deputy Premier would be interested in this metaphor or this comparison because he likes talking about television shows here in the house. Some of us are old enough to remember the show Bonanza, and there have been reruns recently, but I cannot remember on which channel. In the opening scenes of Bonanza they have a map, and the map starts burning from the middle and then burns outwards. I think about that map, and to me it illustrates how this government has been handling the very important issues of state: it is a small fire starting in the middle and it is just expanding and burning on all fronts.
As I said, if we look at the different areas of responsibility that ministers have—the Deputy Premier, the Attorney-General—the leader highlighted in his Supply Bill speech the absolute shambles that the court buildings are in. It was only a year or two ago that we went for a tour through the Supreme Court buildings, and the conditions that the judiciary and their staff have to work in are appalling up there on Victoria Square. There is salt damp, and the big cream brick building at the back that was probably built back in the sixties should be pulled down and a more modern facility built. As the member for Morialta pointed out, it is something that the government talked about before the election.
Then we come to the Minister for Health. He is in more trouble than the early settlers with the transition to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, and the EPAS system that has been costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars is still not working properly. I do not think it has worked properly in any hospital. He talks about it being in Noarlunga Hospital, but I think the staff are having issues with it.
Then we go next door to the Treasurer. Well, we do not really have to talk about the world of trouble that the Treasurer is in. This state has never had a problem with the income it has received. It is never had a problem with income—$16 billion—but it is the inability of this government to control its spending. This Labor government, for 13 and a bit years, have never been able to manage or control their spending. The only thing that kept them out of trouble in the early years was windfall revenue from the GST coming in well and truly in excess of the budgeted figures. But we still see this government push on with an old, outdated, failed economic model of tax, borrow and spend.
Mr Duluk: They're socialists.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: They are absolute socialists.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Do not interject or listen to interjections.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: I remember reading a quote—I think it was from Winston Churchill—that no Western country will tax itself to prosperity. He said that trying to tax yourself into prosperity is like standing in a bucket, holding onto the handles of the bucket and trying to lift yourself up off the ground. That is the instruction I think Winston Churchill gave. In a modern, 21st century economic environment, no government will tax itself into prosperity.
You see the actual model that should be adopted, and that is the New Zealand model by Prime Minister Key in New Zealand, and the leader has travelled to New Zealand and spoken to him firsthand. They actually lowered their taxation rates in an endeavour to stimulate some economic activity and spend money in the right areas of government to stimulate economic activity. That is what the government always talks about, wanting to stimulate economic activity, but they have the wrong model in place.
People have talked at length about the land tax on people's homes, averaging out at $1,200 a year. That is just the thin end of the wedge; if they bring that in, they will start hammering away and it will be $2,000 or $2,500, and it will be never-ending. This government has the wrong economic model in place—all Labor governments have since the Whitlam years, as I pointed out in my earlier contribution.