First state to introduce road user charge for electric vehicles
South Australian Government Treasurer Rob Lucas this afternoon handed down the 2020-21 State Budget unveiling a record $4 billion stimulus into SA’s economy to create thousands of jobs over the next two years.
It is the single biggest economic stimulus by a State Government in South Australia’s history, aimed at fast-tracking a post-Covid recovery. The SA Budget doubles the Government’s existing stimulus investment and leverages another $1 billion in Commonwealth and local government and business funding. As the Treasurer stated in his budget speech, ..’the primary objective of this budget is jobs — both saving as many jobs as we can and creating as many jobs as we can…..the government’s clear policy plan has been that long term and substantial economic growth and jobs growth will be achieved by ensuring the costs of doing business in South Australia are nationally and internationally competitive.’
The budget allocates a record $16.7 billion over four years for the biggest public sector infrastructure program in this state’s history. $7.6 billion is allocated to road and public transport infrastructure and $3 billion to health and education facilities.
The largest project is the $8.9 billion North South corridor and South Rd upgrade – in particular two tunnels to complete final 10.5km non-stop stretch. This project creating up to 4000 jobs will be the biggest ever job-creating infrastructure project in South Australia’s history which will be completed by 2030.
In health infrastructure there will $685 million allocated toward the final cost of the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital estimated to be completed in 2025-26 and $50 million towards the total $314 million cost of Stage 3 of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital redevelopment
There is also a “shovel ready” $850 million ‘Tradies Package’ with projects that will provide a pipeline of building and construction works with significant increases in funding for essential maintenance of government assets such as schools, regional health facilities, roads and bridges.
In a surprise reform, the SA Government also flagged Australia’s first road user charge for Electric Vehicles (EVs), tackling a key issue for policy makers of managing the transition to EVs and finding a new revenue source to replace fuel excise. How SA structures the charge, which is likely to be based on mileage, could prove to be a model for other States to follow, particularly as taxes on fossil fuels dry up as more EVs take to the roads. The government is consulting with other jurisdictions about the details of the proposed road user charge, an issue that will attract strong interest from a range of motor vehicle, transport and environmental lobbies.
The budget commits another $50 million to the $200 million Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre at Lot Fourteen and together with the $40 million resort and visitor centre at Monarto to provide the biggest safari experience outside of Africa there will be new major visitor experiences.
The State Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Plan delivers a total of $204 million over four years including implementing Stage Two of the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre redevelopment to continue the transformation of one of the nation’s most iconic sporting precincts into a state of the art arena for sporting, arts and entertainment events Soccer is another winner with $45 million to bring Hindmarsh Soccer Stadium up to elite sport standard which is suitable for bidding for national and international level events such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia 2023.
The $4 billion state economic stimulus package also includes:
There will be more tax relief for small and large businesses to June 2021 across land tax, payroll tax and further incentives for any new trainee or apprentice brought on by employers for 12 months with no payroll tax.
The SA Government is investing $60 million over the next two years to improve energy efficiency in government buildings, creating hundreds of jobs and cutting the taxpayers’ electricity bill.
It’s also looking to reduce emissions by more than 50% by 2030 from 2005 levels.
The SA-NSW Interconnector, Home Battery Scheme, Grid Scale Storage Fund, Government Supply Contract, demand management and now the building refurbishment program are all part of the SA Government’s plans to reduce emissions whilst also reducing electricity bills.
South Australia’s intention to create a green hydrogen export industry will be supported by a $240 million hydrogen project allocating $37 million in the State Budget to upgrade the Port Bonython jetty.
This is a crucial budget in the electoral cycle, looking to make major investments and create jobs and before the next state election in March 2022. In line with the Federal Government strategy, supporting tradies and the high vis workers is both political and economically popular. The test for the Marshall Government will come in the execution and delivery.