Industry groups, including Business SA, the Business Council of Australia, the Property Council, Master Builders Association of SA, the RAA, SA Council of Social Services and the Tourism Industry Council of SA, have all backed the sweeping stimulus measures announced on Tuesday with the delivery of the 2020-21 State Budget – from massive payroll tax relief and a second round of small business and not-for-profits cash grants to the new ‘Tradies Package” and the big and small-scale infrastructure projects that will drive the State’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
It is certainly a budget that recognises the contribution regional South Australia makes to our State’s economy, estimated at $28.7 billion (over a quarter of total Gross State Product) and where 29% of our State’s total population live and work.
Highlights of the 2020-21 Budget include $908.8m in new rural transport infrastructure projects; the special $25m Regional Growth Fund Strategic Business round; $203m in additional infrastructure works in regional health facilities over the next two years; a $20.9m Drought Support Package; $353.9m for regional schools upgrades; $293m bushfire support; $269.5m road safety stimulus works in regional areas; $32m for regional national parks, and the $52m Regional Road Network Package.
Specific funding allocations in these packages include $50 million for the now underway Port Wakefield overpass and highway duplication works, $4.55m for the upgrade of access roads to Dublin Saleyard, and $3.2 million to complete the $4m upgrade of Moonta Area School.
Ongoing support for property owners impacted by last year’s fires includes $1.4m (2019-21) for recovery measures specifically for those impacted by the Yorketown and Price fires, $49.8 m for recovery grants for people impacted by the Adelaide Hills, Kangaroo Island, YP and the South East fires, and $200,000 for the SA Export Accelerator-Bushfire Response grant program.
The $37m over two years for school and preschool priority maintenance works is a very valuable stimulus initiative for the Narungga electorate, with grants of between $20,000 and $100,000 to be available for every government school and grants of $30,000 for every preschool, specifically to provide work for local businesses and tradies and for the work to be chosen by each school and done quickly in the next school year.
I also am pleased that Kadina Memorial School is to receive $680,000 in additional funds (to a total of $4.18m) to enable the full scope of works planned for this school to be delivered, and that local non-government schools will not miss out, with an additional $11.6 million for this sector included in the budget to improve their school facilities.
I welcome the dedicated $3 million allocation for Innes National Park, to create new visitor experiences and improve campgrounds and amenities. This investment will drive more visitors to the region and encourage them to stay longer, resulting in significant benefits to the local economy.
The Regional Road Network package includes upgrades for Spencer Highway (more detail to come) and projects already announced are spray seals for Ardrossan to Minlaton Road on the Yorke Highway, the Copper Coast Highway near Kulpara, and sections of Maitland to Ardrossan Road.
I am hopeful multiple community projects co-funded with local councils will come as a result of this budget, via the welcomed $100m Local Government Infrastructure Partnership program, and the injection of $15 million to the Planning and Development Fund for local government projects.
I also expect the $25m expansion of the Sport Grassroots Grants Program and $10m Regional Facilities Program will be popular. For more details of these programs, and all grants announced as part of the Budget (including the $10,000 Small Business cash grants and the Regional Growth Fund), please visit the GRANTS tab of this website.