South Australia has been dudded on infrastructure spending with “not one new program” for the state in the federal budget, state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says.
The treasurer emphasised his point tweeting out a picture of new infrastructure commitments which highlighted new projects in Western Australia, Queensland, NSW and Victoria but left SA blank.
The treasurer also criticised what he said were big cuts to aged care providers and a move to cancel the mental health national partnership programs.
At the same time the federal government would also increase its tax take “each and every year over the next four years”, he said.
South Australia had hoped the federal budget would earmark funds for a range of infrastructure projects including a big expansion of Adelaide’s tram network, the electrification of the Gawler rail line, road projects in the far north and cash for a major medical research facility.
Instead Treasurer Scott Morrison emphasised the pipeline of defence work that will come SA’s way over the next 10 years, including funding for new frigates, patrol boats and submarines.
SA can expect to get an extra cash from increased GST returns which are forecast to rise to $7 billion by 2019/20, though the increase will be less than previously forecast in the mid-year budget update.
Mr Koutsantonis said the previously forecast increase from 2015/16 to 2016/17 had already been factored into the state budget but would now fall short by $52 million.
The budget also reaffirmed $788 million in previously committed spending on the Northern Connector road project and $50 million for a 1280km section of rail line between Tarcoola and West Kalgoorlie, a project that will likely help struggling steel producer Arrium.
South Australia will also get $204 million for road construction and maintenance over the next four years.
Business SA welcomed tax cuts to small business in the budget, which it said came at a time when the Australian economy was slowing and jobs growth was urgently needed.
“The benefit of the reduced taxation rate will flow through to an enterprise’s bottom line, boosting cash flow and generating income that can be invested in the business and beyond,” spokesman Anthony Penney said.
“The new taxation regime will make our businesses more competitive both at home and abroad at a time when free trade agreements are opening up export opportunities.”