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SA budget spends big on health and construction
Big spending on construction, a mental health plan to try to address an overflowing
public health system and a cost for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital are key
features of this year’s pre-election state budget.
In a pre-election budget that included no new cuts, Treasurer Rob Lucas confirmed an
extra $1 billion was needed to complete the North-South Corridor while also confirming
the controversial Hove rail crossing project had been scrapped altogether.
Net debt will reach $33.62 billion over the forward estimates – more than forecast in last
year’s budget — due to a focus on spending to create jobs amid the pandemic.
A record $1.78 billion deficit has been forecast for this financial year, which is better than
the expected $2.6 billion deficit, thanks to a GST and stamp duty windfall.
Budget papers outline that the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital is estimated to cost
$1.95 billion and be completed by 2026, with patients to be admitted in 2027 – a year
later than previously expected.
A $163.5 million package for mental health will look to ease pressure on the state’s public
hospital system and emergency departments.
The plan includes a 20-bed older persons acute mental facility at Modbury costing $48
million over the next four years
The estimated cost of the North-South Corridor is now $9.9 billion — $1 billion more
than forecast at the last budget — with the new cost based on increasing the number of
tunnel lanes from two to three to handle higher traffic volumes.
Labor to scrab sports arena
South Australia’s Labor party has vowed to scrap a $667 million sports and
entertainment arena — promised by the current state government if re-elected — to
instead channel the funds into the state’s ailing health system.
In March, Premier Steven Marshall announced plans to build the stadium by 2026 in the
empty space between Adelaide’s rail yards and the River Torrens in the city’s west.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas told ABC Radio Adelaide now was not the right
time to be spending taxpayer funds on an arena when the public health system is “in
“Our health system needs more resources now, not a basketball stadium,” he said.
Paramedics across the state have been taking industrial action by writing messages on
their ambulances to highlight ramping issues in Adelaide’s major hospitals.
Adelaide, South Australia