SA budget well positioned for post-Covid recovery

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has congratulated South Australian Treasurer Stephen Mullighan on his first budget, which is well positioned to support post-Covid recover.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra notes the significant investments to support business recovery, jobs growth as well as the government’s leadership on climate action to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Zahra says the budget provides much-needed confidence for business after a challenging pandemic period, with surpluses forecast over the forward estimates, and economic growth expected to be three per cent this financial year.

The budget measures include a new $100 million economic recovery fund, supporting businesses in South Australia to invest and grow. An investment of $593 million over four years for new hydrogen facilities to help achieve the government’s 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Over the next year, $39.3 million will go towards doubling the cost-of-living concession; and $40 million will go to a major events fund to grow tourism. Brand SA will receive a $6.2 million boost; there will be $11.9 million in additional investment in skills and training; and $6.7 million in JobTrainer initiatives.

Zahra also welcomed the government’s commitment to impose no new taxes, or increase existing ones, which provides a significant boost to businesses confidence.

“With South Australia under new leadership, this budget sets the tone for the next four years, and with a sound balance sheet, the state is well placed to capitalise on the post-Covid recovery,” Zahra says.

“Challenges persist around labour and skills shortages, and we note the increased investment for skills, training, and JobTrainer initiatives, which we hope will alleviate some of the worker shortfalls.

“Retailers are looking to governments around the country for greater leadership on climate action to help support their own sustainability initiatives. We welcome the significant investments to support the state’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

“As inflationary pressures continue, household budgets are under added stress, and we welcome a doubling of the cost-of-living concession, which will support people on low incomes and naturally flow through to the retail economy.

“There’s still a lot of work to do to revitalise the Adelaide CBD following the pandemic, and we welcome $40 million for a major events fund and $6.2 million to re-establish Brand SA, which will drive tourism and foot traffic to support the city’s retailers.

“The ARA commends the South Australian budget and looks forward to continuing its work with the government to ensure we accelerate the state’s retail recovery.”

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