Port Augusta wins big with budget

BUDGET: South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas presented the 2018-19 state budget at the Intercontinental Hotel in Adelaide. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
BUDGET: South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas presented the 2018-19 state budget at the Intercontinental Hotel in Adelaide. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Regional South Australia was deemed one of the major winners from the 2018-19 state budget, with $773 million to be invested into rural services, roads and economy across the state.

Significant funding has been allocated for vital projects in Port Augusta, including the$200m Joy Baluch AM Bridge duplicationand the $3.2m Bird Lake remediation.

State Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan was delighted by his government’s commitment to his electorate.

“Our government has delivered on all its election commitments in the budget, and I am pleased that Port Augusta and our electorate will benefit enormously,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

The budget allocated $140m over 10 years for country health capital works aimed to improve regional hospital and health infrastructure.

Other initiatives include the $150m Regional Growth Fund and the $315m Regional Roads and Infrastructure Fund.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said the Stuart electorate could profit from these funding opportunities.

“Port Augusta and the rest of our electorate will benefit from additional spending in country health, regional development, mining royalties dedicated to regional infrastructure projects, 20,800 new apprenticeships and traineeships, lower Emergency Services Levies and much more,” he said.

Meanwhile, some housing trust tenants have been angered by an increase in their rent payments, with government set to gain an additional $2.6m a year.

Government increased the rates for tenants of bedsit cottage flats and one-bedroom cottage flats from 19 and 21 per cent respectively to a standard rate of 25 per cent of household income.

Tenants on moderate incomes will pay up to 30 per cent of their assessable household income – up from 25 per cent.

“I am very aware of the financial pressures on housing trust tenants, but we do have to look at where the discounts off normal housing trust rent should be removed,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan explained.

“We intend that reductions to electricity and water costs will help cover the removal of the rent discounts.”

Regional Development Australia Far North Chair Mark Sutton welcomed the budget, commending government for committing to not only the Far North, but all of regional SA.

“This long term commitment shows that the state government realises the importance of regions to the overall state and national economy,” Mr Sutton said.

“Regional areas provide the electricity to power cities and urban areas, it’s where the food is grown and sourced, and it’s where the greatest wealth comes from in terms of major industries such as mining, therefore it’s a positive move to have this value formally recognised and supported.”