Pre-Budget Submission: Delivering a brighter future for South Australia

Nathan Paine | Monday, 2 March 2009 6:00 AM | Add Comment

South Australia, like the rest of the world, is reeling from the Global Financial Crisis. The GFC is hurting balance sheets and denting grand plans, not only for businesses but also for governments.

While we acknowledge Treasury coffers in South Australia have taken a hit, in these tough times we still need tough answers. That is why the Property Council is calling on the Government to deliver a platform for growth in its 2009/2010 State Budget set to be handed down by Treasurer Foley on 04 June this year.

While the Government has done much to set the State on the path to prosperity through infrastructure investment, planning reforms and business tax cuts over the past seven years, more must be done.

South Australia’s medium term outlook continues to be positive with resources set to come back on stream as China picks up steam and the defence sector is not going into retreat any time soon. The Government must deliver a budget that builds the foundations of future dividends for the state.

To do this, the Property Council believes there are three key areas that the Government needs to reform.

1. Property Taxes
South Australia continues to labour under on of the most punitive property tax regimes in the nation where we pay more in land tax than anywhere else in the nation. The Property Council is calling on the government to raise the exemption threshold from a measly $110,000 to $250,000 and the maximum threshold from $1m to $2.5m with a top rate of 2.5 cents per dollar. This reform will not make us the most competitive but it will bring us closer to our major competitors and while it will be hard to deliver, deliver the Government must.

2. Sustainability
The built environment is responsible for 23 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and it is well known that the easiest and cheapest way to cut emissions is by action in the built environment. The Government is to be congratulated for the work it is doing with the Property Council in delivering the Green Buildings Tune-Up Program, but more funds must be committed to this program. Water is also a touchstone issue in South Australia and all levels of Government are delivering the Glenelg to Adelaide Parklands Recycled Water Pipeline. For a $5m investment, this pipeline can be run into the CBD to feed recycled water to commercial buildings saving the State more than one BILLION litres of water per year.

3. Governance Reform
The issue of local governance reform is always tinged with local politics. The Property Council nationally is calling for a constitutional commission to investigate establishing local governments as local parliaments. In addition, at a State level we need to undertake a review of the optimal size of local governments and putting in place the appropriate probity mechanisms. This should not be about protecting one’s patch of dirt but rather about what is best for all South Australians, current and future generations.

These are just three of the key recommendations contained in the Property Council’s budget submission. None of our recommendations are easy; the job of governing a great state like South Australia should never be easy.

We have prosperity on our doorstep and while the Government has done much to unlock the door, we now need to put in place the final actions to get us over the threshold.

Have your say below on what YOU want from the State Government in the upcoming South Australian budget.

View our log of claims on video here.

Click on one of these links to read our media release and pre-budget submission.

Nathan Paine | Monday, 2 March 2009 6:00 AM | Add Comment

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