SA launches economic stimulus package
A $350 million government stimulus package will help secure South Australian jobs affected by bushfires, drought and the coronavirus, Premier Steven Marshall says.
Infrastructure projects including road and hospital maintenance work and funds for tourism facilities will form the centrepiece of the initiative, which will require SA to increase borrowings.
At the same time, the government has pledged no taxes to fund the measures, ensuring the budget will take a sizeable hit.
"During these times of significant global uncertainty, we are committed to doing all we can to ensure the state's economy maintains its forward momentum and that local jobs are not only protected but can continue to grow into the future," Mr Marshall said on Wednesday.
"While we are not immune from the impacts of this global crisis, this package will go some way to assist us to minimise the inevitable shocks to come."
The package will also include extra funding to the state's economic and business growth fund to support specific industry sectors.
Projects must meet certain criteria to be eligible for funding, including the ability to start works within a short period of time, that they must be labour-intensive or require significant local purchasing of materials, services and supplies.
"We've seen a significant effect in SA in relation to the number of international students and international visitors and we're hearing the implications from a trade perspective following on from the coronavirus," the premier said.
"Our top priority, along with the health, safety and wellbeing of all South Australians, is to ensure our economy is well-positioned to not only withstand the impact of bushfires and coronavirus but to emerge stronger and more resilient as a result.
"This is all about securing jobs and keeping local businesses' doors open. We simply will not sit back and allow the economy to be put on ice."
Included in the stimulus is $22m for nature-based tourism infrastructure which was announced late last week.
Mr Marshall said some other pre-approved projects would also be brought forward.
But Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said providing the stimulus directly to households would have been more effective to get money into the economy.
"It is a missed opportunity because it lacks detail and provides no direct stimulus to South Australian households," Mr Malinauskas said.
"The $350m towards stimulus without any detail means it is very hard for businesses and households to get the confidence they need to continue to drive economic activity."
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