The MTA sat in on the State Government's last budget lock-up before the election early next year.
This big spending budget will reach a deficit of $1.8 billion this financial year, revised down from the initial $2.6 billion deficit forecast thanks to a GST and stamp duty windfall. While net debt will peak at $33.62 billion over the forward estimates, the Treasurer has predicted surplus a year earlier than planned, at the end of the 2022-23 financial year.
There has been much made of the large health spend this year, but upon closer inspection there are a number of measures relevant to the automotive industry and the business community.
More payroll tax relief for new apprentices
The MTA continues to challenge industry to take on new apprentices in the fight against skill shortages. Further supporting industry is the State Government's extension of payroll tax exemptions for wages paid to new eligible apprentices, now until 30 June 2022.
Together with the 50% wage subsidy from the Federal Government, there really has never been a better time to take on an apprentice.
JobTrainer also extended
Low fee VET courses, including a broad suite of automotive units, are set to continue with $34.5 million more in Commonwealth funding matched by the State Government over the next two years.
Land tax transition fund
Last year's budget set money aside to support those who were negatively impacted by land tax reevaluations.
This will continue, with 70% of the taxpayers bill increase funded by government in 2021-22, up from 50% last financial year.
Jobs and Economic Growth Fund
The Economic and Business Growth Fund announced in 2018-19 has been rebranded and will deliver a further $200 million over the next four years to focus on supporting initiatives that create long-term sustainable jobs and economic growth.
Previous funding has been spread across defence, energy and mining, education and trade, and we will be asking government to support our industry in the growth of new automotive technologies such as electric and hydrogen.
Driver training reform on its way
The State Government is looking at the way driver training is delivered in South Australia, with $4 million committed over three years for reform of light and heavy vehicle training industries, as well as a further $920,000 (indexed) on an ongoing basis to administer the reforms.
Reforms have hinted an online register, mandatory driver training and assessment vehicle requirements, higher eligibility and entry requirements and mandatory cameras in vehicles. We are also carefully watching what might happen with RiderSafe motorcycle training.
Country bus services support
Bus operators who service regional communities through the South Australian Public Transport Authority are being offered $4.2 million in assistance in light of the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. The authority is also looking at a broader review of services and we are working with the department and members through this process.
Funding for recycling infrastructure projects
We know all too well that more needs to be done to support vehicles and automotive products at end of life, so it is pleasing to see $12 million over the next two years in partnership with the Federal Government allocated to recycling projects aimed at processing products such as glass, plastics and tyres.
Cyber resilience funding for small business
From this financial year, the State Government will be committing $500,000 per year (indexed) to improve small business resilience by developing digital and cyber security capabilities, and $350,000 this year for further information and support delivered via digital resources.
South Road update
The estimated cost of the North-South Corridor is now $9.9 billion — $1 billion more than forecast at the last budget, thanks to a new tunnel design which will see three lanes in each direction.
There is more to unpack from the budget and we will continue to work through the detail to bring MTA members the updates, insights and information they need to know.
If you have any questions about these measures or any other part of the South Australian State Budget, please click here.