South Australian families and employers have been waiting to see if today’s State Budget delivers real plans to tackle the jobs crisis in our state. 

With the highest unemployment in the nation, PremierJay Weatherill and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis must change tack from the last year. They need to admit SA has a problem, accept their share of responsibility for creating the problem, and commit to playing their role in fixing it.

The last year has seen too much blame game and too little responsibility. Millions of South Australian taxpayer dollars have been wasted in tricky advertising campaigns trying to pass the buck, while business activity has stuttered and confidence nosedived.

Contrary to the claims, the Federal Government is doing its fair share, with an increase in funding for SA every year for the next four years, rising by 30 per cent or $2.4 billion over the forward estimates. This will bring total Commonwealth spending in SA over that period to just under $40 billion – higher than ever – and includes a 36 per cent increase  in GST revenue, or $1.8 billion more over four years.

This year’s Federal Budget delivers $1.5 billion extra in funding for SA. On every measure, the SA State Government is receiving more Commonwealth funding than ever before.

In health funding, the Federal Government is providing a 19 per cent increase for SA hospitals, delivering $208 million more over four years. There’s a 26 per cent increase in Commonwealth funding for SA schools, amounting to $280 million more over four years. And SA will also benefit directly from $2 billion for world-class infrastructure.

Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis will be drawing a very long bow if they again try to point the finger at Canberra for any nasty State Budget announcements.

The 2015/16 Federal Budget is designed to help give our economy a real jump-start. Small businesses benefit from $5.5 billion of measures that lower the small business tax rate and allow for new tax deductions.

These policies encourage businesses to invest more and create more jobs. Where state governments have pursued complementary actions these policies are working. In the period since Jay Weatherill was re-elected unemployment has dropped in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, but has lifted in SA and is now the nation’s highest.

To turn this around and create more jobs, SA needs a State Budget that drives competitiveness, lowers business costs and incentivises investment. 

Our Government wants to work with SA, but we can’t do it all on our own. Hopefully this year’s state budget brings progress not more buck passing.