Media Release

SA Greens 2015 Budget Response

18/06/2015 4:00 pm

The SA Greens have responded to what they deem a ‘blue tie’ budget from a State Labor Government.

“No wonder Steven Marshall told everyone to vote Labor – this is a blue tie budget,” Greens MLC Tammy Franks said.

The Greens say that $180 million in savings for SA businesses comes at the expense of injured workers.

Budget Savings at a Price for Injured Workers

The Greens say that $180 million in savings for SA businesses comes at the expense of injured workers.

“This blue-tie budget woos the business sector with windfalls coming from previous cuts to our supports for injured workers and through the tightened the eligibility criteria for entry into the Return to Work scheme,” Ms Franks said.

“Figures obtained by my office through Freedom of Information showed that of the 1070 workers with ‘Whole Person Impairment’* (WPI) in 2010-2011, only 17 would be entitled to ongoing compensation.

“In other words, less than 2 per cent would be eligible for ongoing compensation. Meanwhile, workers who do not meet the 30 per cent WPI threshold will have their medical expenses cut after 12 months.”

Environment Still the Biggest Loser

Greens Leader Mark Parnell said the environment is “still the Biggest Loser under Labor”.

“The budget does nothing to stem the haemorrhage of job losses in the Environment Department and the EPA and shows that investing in a clean and healthy environment is a low priority for this Government,” he said.

“South Australia’s environment is in serious trouble.  According to the Government’s own 2014 State of the Environment Report, nearly all environmental indicators are trending down.  This has been matched by eight years of continual cuts to environmental spending.

“In the long run, we can’t have a healthy economy if we don’t have a clean and thriving environment.  If the Government is serious about attracting overseas investors and customers for South Australian business, it must maintain environmental quality. 

“Evidence to Parliamentary inquiries shows that perception and reputation are critical to investment decisions.  Not looking after our environment is risky business - and risky to business.”

Gawler Train Electrification Switched Off

“In the area of transport, the focus is on roads, with public transport coming a poor last,” Greens Leader Mark Parnell said.

“$55 million is allocated to a new Gawler East Collector Link Road to service urban sprawl in the outer North.  On the other hand, the electrification of the Gawler Railway line has been abandoned (“removed from works in progress”). 

“There is no plan to expand rail to these new growth areas either.  The big question for Gawler East is why taxpayers are footing the Bill for access roads rather than the property developers?  This is a direct taxpayer subsidy to urban sprawl and property developers and the money should have been allocated to public transport.”

Real Commitment Needed to Repower the Regions

While The Greens have welcomed a $187 million boost to the regions over the next four years, they say real investment in renewables must be part of the picture.

“A real commitment would be to repower the regions, not just for next year’s budget, but for the next generation.

“We need a commitment from this Government to invest in solar thermal and solar park projects in our regions to sustain local jobs into the future.

“The time for platitudes has passed, the time for action is now,” Ms Franks said.

* For example, substantial injury such as quadriplegia, brain damage and permanent impairment would meet the threshold, while a below-knee amputation would not meet the threshold.

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