The 2015 Federal Budget that has been handed down this month announced that South Australia will receive an additional share of GST revenue to the tune of $857million over the next 3 years.
With nearly a billion dollars in extra GST revenue from the Federal Government, Premier Weatherill should now, without delay, promise to continue the Council Rate Pensioner Concessions for South Australian Pensioners.
As stated in previous communications, of the $190 concession $19 was the component funded by the Federal Government with the remaining $171 funded by the State Government. With the reduction in Federal funding to this concession, every other state in Australia made up the shortfall, while the State Government in South Australia was the only state to announce they would scrap the entire concession including their $171 contribution.
In January this year, my colleagues and I in the State Liberal Opposition announced that we would oppose any legislative change intended by the Labor Government to remove this concession. We received cross-bench support in the Upper House on this commitment which meant a cut to the concession was unlikely to be approved by Parliament ensuring the concession would stay in place.
However, despite not having the support of the Parliament to cease this concession, Premier Weatherill spent $1.1million of tax payer money advertising their cut and blaming it on the Federal Government.
This significant increase in funding from the Federal Government is unexpected and a fiscal lifeline for Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis. This increase will also mean that from now until the year 2018-2019, Federal funding to South Australia will surge from $8.1billion to $10.5 billion.
The State Government can no longer keep spending tax payer money blaming the Federal Government for their own financial mismanagement. Instead, I call on the Premier Weatherill to start governing and responsibly manage this generous hand out to help get South Australia back on track.