Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (17:23): I am pleased to make
some comments in relation to the Appropriation Bill. I want to start by saying
that I do not believe this government will deliver on this budget. I say that
with fairly good reason because, over the past 13 or so years, the government has
pretty much not delivered on any one of their budgets. This is the 14th budget
they have sought to bring down. They have a track record of not delivering on
any of the previous 13 budgets so, to be honest, I do not think they will
deliver on this budget either.
I can support that with some facts and figures. I have said in
previous speeches in the house on previous years' appropriation bills that you
just have to look at some pretty basic facts and pretty simple graphs that have
been presented where the deficits have blown out and borrowings have blown out.
The most recent example is over this last six or so months where the deficit
for the 2014-15 financial year is $279 million which is an actual increase of
almost $100 million on the December 2014 Mid Year Budget Review estimate of an
$185 million deficit. There is a blowout of $185 million to $279 million, which
has occurred despite the government raiding $459 million from the Motor
Accident Commission. That is some clear evidence over the last six months of
how wrong this government can get its budget.
But there are also some key economic indicators as to why
things are running off the rails, so to speak. There are two quite clear
indications of that. None of us on this side of the house get any real pleasure
from highlighting how poorly the state is functioning economically, but
unfortunately with a 7.6 per cent unemployment rate we have the highest
unemployment rate in the nation. These two economic indicators must match up
because we are the highest taxed state in the nation. So on the one hand we
have the highest unemployment rate and on the other hand we have the highest
taxation levels in the country. For anybody who focuses on economic indicators
and how the state is going, those two key indicators must match up.
We heard the leader this morning, in leading the debate on the
Appropriation Bill, saying that we have an emergency in relation to our
unemployment figures and our level of unemployment and that we need an
emergency response. The leader quite effectively, strongly and capably put a
case forward to the parliament on how that can be remedied.
A couple of weeks ago when the budget was brought down, the
Treasurer said that the budget was formed on job creation, that it was a budget
for jobs. But what do we see? The leader highlighted earlier that there was
meant to be 5,000 additional jobs created in the mining sector. What have we
seen? There have been 5,000 jobs lost in the mining sector. He is spouting off
in question time saying we aspire to be the mining state of the nation. I have
been in this place for a little while and pretty much for that period of
time—13½ years—I have heard a number of government ministers and previous and
current premiers bang on about South Australia having a mining boom.
How many times have we heard ministers and the Premier on the
other side of the house spout off about how we have a mining boom? We certainly
do not have a mining boom at the moment. We have never had a mining boom. For a
couple of years we might have had a mining exploration boom where mining
exploration was going hammer and tongs, but we have never actually had a mining
Over recent times we have seen a downturn. BHP Billiton is
going to lay off a number of workers. We have seen, as I highlighted earlier,
5,000 jobs alone lost in the mining sector. Instead of creating 5,000 jobs in
the mining sector, as the government had proposed, we have a negative of 5,000,
so overall it is a negative of 10,000 jobs to the economy. It is a significant number
of jobs lost.
Another thing that has been highlighted is that we are going
to see an increase in payroll tax. Sure, the government and the Treasurer are
talking about tweaking here and there and reducing some levels of taxation in
other areas, but we all know on this side of the house that payroll tax is a
tax on jobs growth. I know the Treasurer can spout off percentages like he
does, full of rhetoric but very little action I might say, but payroll tax is a
direct tax on the creation of jobs, so there is very little incentive.
The member for Hartley raised in his contribution that he
knows businesses that employ workers so that their payroll expenditure just
falls short of the threshold over which they have to pay payroll tax, and that
is a disincentive for employment. We on this side of the house all know that
there are hundreds and hundreds of businesses that would like to employ more
people but they cannot deal with this regressive tax on jobs, that is, payroll
Other taxes will also increase—the emergency services levy has
gone up 9 per cent. On top of the government's remissions being removed earlier
in the last year, we have seen a hike in the ESL, and that is just a backdoor
property tax. The Treasurer floated the possibility about having a direct tax
on the family home but I think he has gone cold on that idea. I think perhaps
some of the members of the Labor caucus are fairly touchy about that issue, and
rightly so because we all know that people work very hard, they save for a
deposit, they borrow a lot of money from the bank, they work two jobs, and both
members of the house, if it is a two-member household, the husband and wife
each work to pay the home loan payments.
The family home is a very important part of our Australian way
of life and the basis of the Australian economy, so for the government and for
the Treasurer to even give any thought to introducing a tax on the home is an
absolute abhorrence. However, he has had his way to a degree on this with the
hike of 9 per cent on the ESL.
Another interesting thing came to the fore last week, which
the Hon. Rob Lucas, shadow treasurer in the other place, highlighted in a press
release he distributed. He highlighted the fact that the Premier told the
national media that at next week's leaders' meeting he will push for the GST to
apply to all financial services, so what is happening? Are we going back to the
dim, dark days of the Labor Keating years where we saw the introduction of
financial institutions duty (FID) and bank account debits tax? We are hauling
ourselves back to the future, back to the 1980s and the dim, dark days of the
Keating era. Nobody in their right mind wants to go back to what the nation
endured, in the way the economy was dealt with, under the Labor Keating years. But,
as the Hon. Rob Lucas in the other place has highlighted in a press release,
the Premier has plans and is wanting to push for GST to be applied to bank
Mr Weatherill knows that when the GST was introduced in 2001
it was done only on the basis that the Financial Institutions Duty (FID) was
Having come from a banking career, I know that bank account
debits tax was abolished before the FID, and the thought of applying a tax on
people's banking transactions is just completely wrong—it is just perverse if
you ask me.
I was in the banking game when those taxes came in, and I just
could not work out the logic, apart from being sheer and blatant revenue
raising, no other reason, behind taxing people to deposit and withdraw money from
their bank accounts. They were abolished, but it looks like they may be back on
the agenda. So, we need the Premier to come in and rule it out. We need him to
come into the house and definitely say, 'No, I'm not going to next month's
leaders meeting and be pushing for the GST on financial services.' That is an
absolute regressive step in terms of trying to stimulate activity and economic
growth in the state.
I do not believe the government will deliver on this budget.
We have seen that the state will receive into the forward estimates another GST
windfall. That was the only thing that ever kept the previous treasurer's
budget half in shape.
Mr Gardner: Sometimes.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: Sometimes, that is right. They were
half around the mark, even though the figures were rarely realised. The rivers
of gold of the GST were just flooding into the state coffers. What have we seen
this year and into the forward estimates? We will see $892 million more of
budgeted GST come into the state. We are looking at a projection of a $43
million surplus. I do not think that will occur, because the government has an
appalling track record of delivering on its budgets. We will wait and see. That
is on top of, as I have highlighted, the influx of money from the Motor
It gets back to the fundamentals of how this government is
managing the economy and the model it has put in place to try to manage the
state's economy and the states finances. It is blatantly wrong, and surely
members on the other side can see that it is wrong, because everything is
heading in the wrong direction: unemployment is up, taxation levels are up,
business confidence is down. A lot of the indicators are heading south, because
the government has put in place an old, failed economic model of tax, borrow
They think they can spend their way out of a problem. They
think they can spend their way out of economic difficulty. They have tried—and
we have seen federal Labor governments try—but they have failed. All they do is
rack up massive debt. From memory, the debt will peak at $13.7 billion—$13.7
billion the debt will peak out at—and in anybody's language that is an enormous
liability and an enormous debt to try to manage.
However, as the leader pointed out this morning in his
excellent contribution, the government has the capacity to do away with its old
model, to forget all that old failed economic model that may have worked in the
1950s and 1960s, when we were operating in a semi protected economic
environment, managing the exchange rates and with limits on how much banks
could lend. We had high tariffs in place for imports, even though it made the
cost of living very high for Australian people.
There is light at the end of the tunnel that the government
can view, if it wishes, and that is adopting what the leader has spoken about
in relation to how a modern, western, democratic, unregulated economy can look,
and that is the New Zealand model. The leader highlighted the fact that it is
pretty simple. It is not very complicated. You focus on exports, you focus on
the industries that have a natural affinity to the land in which you live, you
keep spending under control but you spend in the productive areas of the
economy, and you look at Public Service productivity.
Unfortunately, over the 13½ years this government has been in
power, the Public Service—and it has been driven, I think, in a major way by
the way the government has dealt with the Public Service. Unfortunately,
instead of the Public Service responding to the state's needs, they respond to
their own bureaucratic needs. We know about the old failed model that the
government uses: big government.
It is like previous Prime Minister Rudd said, 'The government
is to be the solution; the government needs to play a big part in the economic
recovery of the country.' Well, that all went to hell in a handbasket, didn't
it? As we have seen, some of those schemes that he put in place were complete
failures and, as I said, just racked up enormous debt that this current Liberal
Coalition government has to deal with. It is not that difficult for the
government to turn its mind from its old socialist, protectionist, high taxing,
high borrowing, high-spending ways to implement a modern, western, unregulated
economic model. As I said, we have highlighted on this side of the house the
New Zealand model.
I want to quickly talk about some other areas that I have
highlighted previously. I want to turn my comments to health services. The
constituents in the northern part of my electorate would use the services at
the Modbury Hospital. People in the towns of Oakbank, Woodside, Lobethal,
Gumeracha, Birdwood, constituents in those northern towns in Kavel would use
the Modbury Hospital. I am sure constituents in the southern towns of Schubert,
as well as in the electorates of Morialta, Newland, Florey and Wright, all use
the Modbury Hospital.
What concerns me is that we are not getting any straight
answers from the Minister for Health on what is happening with the Modbury
Hospital. I asked a couple of questions about the Modbury Hospital service
cuts. I have a DL flyer that has your smiling face on it, Deputy Speaker.