SAFC backs state Budget as good under the circumstances


Spend and tax treatments seen as reasonable given tough economic times

SAFC backs state Budget as good under the circumstances
SA premier Jay Weatherill and treasurer Tom Koutsantonis holding the Budget papers

 

South Australia’s peak transport and logistics lobby, the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC), has given the thumbs up for this year’s state Budget and has called on the federal government to join the infrastructure expenditure party.

For the sector, state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis’ effort was ticked for its roads focus and small business measures

"The state government has also committed to its share of $674 million to get on with other key infrastructure projects including the next stage of the South Road upgrade between Pym Street and Regency Road and the second stage of the electrification of the Gawler rail line from Salisbury to Gawler," Koutsantonis says.

"This Budget also commits $305 million for the first stage of the duplication of Main South Road from Seaford to Sellicks Beach, $15 million for new Park ‘n’ Ride facilities at Klemzig and Tea Tree Plaza interchanges and we are also allocating $3.5 million to upgrade the Blackwood roundabout.

"Importantly, this Budget retains funds in contingency for the realignment of the Springbank, Goodwood and Daws Road intersection. The Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure has commenced detailed design work to create a standard cross intersection."

The pledges were part of what the state government says is a record $2.2 billion infrastructure spend.

"This is a fair Budget given the tough economic conditions currently faced in South Australia," SAFC executive officer Evan Knapp says.

"In particular, the freight transport industry is pleased to see that the Regency Road to Pym Street section of the North South Corridor has been funded by the SA Government.

"The Council now calls on the Turnbull Commonwealth Government to step up and deliver its share of the funding to see this critical project go ahead.

 

"Without such a commitment, the federal government’s promise to complete the corridor by 2023/24 will be unachievable.

"Given that SA received $2 billion below its fair share of infrastructure funds in the recent federal Budget, the Turnbull government now needs to find the extra $300 million for SA to fund this crucial project.

"Such a commitment will protect the current road construction jobs that are due to cease with the completion of the Torrens to Torrens and Darlington projects in 2019/20.

"Should the Commonwealth fail to deliver this crucial funding, it will force the skilled road construction workforce that has been developed on these projects out of a job, and leave SA with a half-finished urban freeway."

Knapp adds that the increase in state road maintenance spending – including a $13 million increase in maintenance spending in 2017/18, bringing the total spend for the year to $136 million – will help stabilise the condition of the road system in SA.

Small business

SAFC also welcomed the stamp duty concessions for small business, believing it would benefit the road freight sector in particular, which is dominated by small operators.

Small businesses with payrolls up to $600,000 will receive up to $9,000, providing additional funding for an estimated 2,000 apprentice and trainee positions.

"Building on the business tax cuts of almost $700 million announced in the state tax reform package included in the 2015-16 Budget, the 2017-18 Budget includes further payroll tax relief ($45 million over four years) for small businesses," the Budget papers state.

"The previous small business payroll tax rebate will be replaced by reduced payroll tax rates for small business and the concessional arrangements extended to businesses with an annual payroll of up to $1.5 million.

"It is estimated that around 1,300 employers will benefit by up to $8,820 from this initiative each year compared with the prior small business payroll tax rebate."

SA wills see more revenue collected as part of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) arrangements as well as a contribution from SA Water associated with the Darlington and Torrens to Torrens South Road projects.

It is also predicts lower fine and penalties revenue due to lower detections from fixed cameras.

But revenue from motor vehicle taxes in 2016-17 is expected to be $3 million lower than the 2016-17 Budget estimate mainly due to lower motor vehicle registration revenue from NHVR changes.

This is to be partially offset by higher than expected revenue from stamp duty on motor vehicle registrations and transfers.

The registration fee for light commercial vehicles with 1,001kg- 1,500kg mass rises $265 to $271, or 2.3 per cent; mass greater than 1,500kg $454 to  $464, up 2.2 per cent.

Speeding fines will also rise 2.2-2.4 per cent.

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