Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (12:52): I am pleased to make a
contribution in the house today in relation to the Appropriation Bill that we
are currently debating. I have certainly listened to the leader's excellent
contribution earlier this morning giving quite a comprehensive summary of the budget
and other issues impacting the state of South Australia and the communities
within our state. I have been in this place since 2002, so I have made a number
of speeches over the years in relation to the budgets brought down by Labor
governments. It is interesting to reflect on some of the figures and the
amounts of money that we deal with in relation to the budget.
From memory, in 2002, when I, the member for Heysen and others
were first elected, the state budget was about $12 billion. Now, 14 or 15 years
later, it is up to $18 billion. So we have seen a 50 per cent increase ($6
billion) from 2002—$12 billion to $18 billion. As the member for Goyder said
when summarising his comments, we have experienced quite a number of changes
that have impacted on the economic outlook and outcomes of the state. We can
talk about the rivers of gold that were flowing in when the GST was cranking
along, back in those earlier days of the Labor government between 2002 and
2010, but that is all in the history books now and we have to face the reality
of the current situation that all South Australians are dealing with.
As the leader pointed out and we have highlighted previously,
really, without the assets of the sale of the Motor Accident Commission, the
budget would be in deficit. The net operating balance would be in deficit
because the surplus was written down by $97 million in the Mid-Year Budget
Review and the net operating balance for the 2016-17 year is budgeted at $254
We all remember the cries back a number of years ago of 'No
more privatisation. No more privatisation under Labor governments.' We all
remember that. That all went out the window years ago because the government
has realised that previous Liberal governments were on the right track in terms
of selling some assets to restore what was a complete fiasco as a consequence
of the State Bank debacle. That, again, is all in the history books but,
really, South Australia is still suffering, financially and economically, as a
consequence of the State Bank disaster.
As I said, if the $448 million in payments from the
privatisation of the Motor Accident Commission and the $624 million payment
forecast for the 2016-17 year had not eventuated, then the surplus would not
have been created. I would like to call it a book-entry surplus really. It
might be old terminology, but I might be an old banker. My friend and colleague
the member for Davenport is an old banker too.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: He is perhaps a more recent old banker;
nonetheless, he cut his teeth in the banking game before he moved into public
life as a state member of parliament. So, really, it is a book-entry surplus
brought about by privatisation and the sale of public assets, which is
something that this Labor government, this Labor Party, vowed and declared a
number of years ago they would never do. 'No more privatisation.' I remember
the previous premier, Mike Rann, shouting from the rooftops, 'No more
privatisation under my government.'
Mr Duluk: And 'never sell the Repat'.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: All of those things. All of those
things are absolute untruths and broken promises, however you want to describe
them. There is a list as long as your arm of broken promises made by these
successive Labor governments since they came into office in 2002. We can
analyse the budget, and members will do that. The leader did it very well. We
could go through portfolio by portfolio—education, arts, science and
information, multicultural planning, local government, you name it—and there
are pages and pages of analysis in relation to where this government has the
wrong priorities and are not meeting their budget projections.
An important point to make is, in the 15 years that I have
spoken on Labor government budgets, never has a budget forecast eventuated.
They have forecast their budget. They have said, 'This is what we are going to
do. These are the results we are going to deliver. These are the outcomes.
These are the estimates pushing out into the forward estimates.'
But never, ever have any of their budget forecasts eventuated,
so how can we really believe what the current Treasurer is trying to peddle out
there in relation to this budget? As I said, in the most recent Mid-Year Budget
Review, the surplus was written down by $97 million. When we look back over the
years, there are always readjustments of the figures, but nothing ever
eventuates. I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (15:55): If my memory serves me
correctly, I think I was just finishing off making the point that the budget
surplus is really only what we would refer to as a book-entry surplus, and is
only a consequence of privatisation of a public asset, which is something the Labor
Party has said that they would never do.
I would like to talk about some other quite relevant issues
that are confronting the state. We spent quite a lot of time in question time
today traversing these issues in relation to energy supply and its cost to
South Australians. I would like for the house to cast its mind back to around
2002, when then premier—or he might have been the opposition leader; I cannot
remember—Mike Rann (member for Ramsay) issued this infamous pledge card that he
produced. The second pledge on that pledge card was in relation to electricity
supply. I think there were five pledges, and this was the second pledge:
2. We will fix our electricity system and an interconnection
to New South Wales will be built to bring in cheaper power.
What are we faced with now? What are we faced with today?
Fifteen years ago, we had this pledge from the government of the day that an
interconnector would be built to New South Wales to bring in cheaper power.
What is the current Minister for Energy and Treasurer saying now? He is saying,
'We need an interconnector.' What have they been doing for the last 15 years?
They have been wasting their time, to a fair degree, on blowing hot air around
the place to drive these wind turbines. If it gets too hot, we know that the
turbines actually turn off and they do not generate any power at all.
That is what has been happening. The whole focus of this
government has been in relation to constructing wind turbines and not getting
on with the pledge that they made 15 years ago to build an interconnector to
New South Wales. There was the Murraylink build, but that was private funding.
I remember 15 or 16 years ago there was talk about a Riverlink interconnector,
but that was never constructed.
This is what Mike Rann and his mates—I do not think any of the
members across the other side were in parliament back then, but there is still
a fair number in the caucus that were around at the time those pledges were
made, including you, Deputy Speaker. o what have we got? We have a complete
shambles on our hands, where only a week or two ago, when some pretty
significant storm events hit the state, the Treasurer went to the company that
owns Pelican Point supposedly pleading with them to crank up energy production
at Pelican Point.
I am reminding the house about what they said on the pledge
card 14 or 15 years ago, and I also want to give the house a history lesson on
what happened even before that, probably 16 or 17 years ago, and what the Labor
opposition did when the then Liberal government wanted to construct Pelican
Point power station: they gave them absolute hell. The Labor opposition at the
time gave the Liberal government absolute hell when the government was
proposing to build Pelican Point power station. You will remember it, Deputy
Speaker, because you were here.
There were protests out the front of Parliament House, with
coffins, saying that the dolphins would be killed in the Port River because of
the hot water coming out of the power plant—absolute nonsense. The Labor
opposition at the time hounded the Liberal government to the ends of the earth
over the construction of Pelican Point, but what do we see now? We see the
Treasurer going cap in hand to the company that owns Pelican Point and saying,
‘We're in a bit of strife. The wind farms aren't doing what we need them to do.
We’ve focused for 15 years on the wind farms. We haven’t built the
interconnector that we promised on our pledge card that Mike Rann signed for
the South Australian community back in 2002, whenever it was. Can you get the
show cranking along for us?’ What a complete joke!
In this place, you have to be careful what you wish for, and
it is all coming back to bite the government on the you know what. Their
position when they were in opposition and when they first formed government or
running into that 2002 election (I cannot quite recall the details of when this
pledge card was first run around the place and whether they were in opposition
or they had just formed government) is coming back to bite them. They did not
want Pelican Point and now they want it.
I remember that at the time they hounded the Liberal
government to the ends of the earth over the construction of Pelican Point. The
member for Morphett was around—he would have been a candidate back in those
days—and he would remember that. Some of us in this place have quite long
memories on what the Labor Party has done. They pledged that the interconnector
would be built, but they have not done any of it, and what they have opposed
and what they have not done is what they are seeking to do now. Well, it is too
little too late.
The government benches in question time can duck and weave as
much as they like in relation to not answering questions we put to them about
power, but we know the real reasons—their lack of action and their opposition
to something over a decade ago. Now they are going cap in hand and begging the
energy company for some power.
I also want to talk about health, particularly the
Transforming Health initiative. The member for Finniss highlighted this earlier
because he realises that health services down in his electorate are not running
very well at all. have spoken about these issues in the house a number of
times, particularly relating to the Modbury Hospital and the reduction of
services, the downgrading of services, in the Modbury Hospital and the supposed
transfer of some services to Lyell McEwin Hospital.
I think the last speech I made in the house a few weeks ago
was on this very specific issue. I warned the government that when the flu
season hit they would see an incredible increase in demand on the services
required at Lyell McEwin Hospital. What have we seen just last week at the
Lyell McEwin Hospital? The emergency department over capacity—and do you know
why? The health professionals have come out and supported this position: the
reason is that the services at Modbury Hospital have been downgraded.
They have been downgraded, and the minister was trotted out in
front of the media, again ducking and weaving on the real reasons for the
overcrowding and the overcapacity situation at the Lyell McEwin. He said,
'There's only been several transfers from Modbury to Lyell McEwin.' Do you know
why? Because nobody is worrying about rolling up to Modbury. The patients know that
they are not going to get the level of services they need at Modbury, so they
get in the car and, instead of going to Modbury, they go straight out to Lyell
They go straight out to Lyell McEwin Hospital; hence, you get
this chronic situation, where we see that the emergency department and the
services at Lyell McEwin Hospital are over capacity and cannot cope, so people
are walking out. People are just walking away and giving up. Talking about
walking away, we have seen somebody walking away—this gentleman trying to
present himself back to prison, having been on temporary parole—
Mr Pederick: He was on compassionate leave.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: —compassionate leave—to go to a
funeral, the tragedy we saw out in the north. He goes back and tries to present
both at the prison and at the police station, and he gets sick of it and walks
away. This government has some form in terms of not being able to deal with
people who present for a whole range of reasons.
We might talk
about it here in the house and raise these issues, and government members might
joke, interject and chiack about it, but this is a really serious issue in
relation to the significant effect Transforming Health is having on the health
sector. It is not transforming health at all for the better: it is transforming
health for the worse. You have patients and staff and hospitals that cannot
cope with the demand. The minister rolls out in front of the media and makes
some flippant one-liners just to get through the press conference, but we know
that the situation is extremely dire.