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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 June 2015
NEWS 10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JUNE 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Jobs over surpluses SA Budget 2015: Treasurer Koutsantonis focuses on tax cuts for business Business tax reforms and upgrades for ongoing infrastructure projects, including roads and housing construction, were unveiled in SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis' second Budget handed down on Thursday. The centrepiece was a reduction in business taxes, which Mr Koutsantonis says could make SA the most competitive state in the nation within three years. Mr Koutsantonis said the tax cuts were about delivering jobs, not surpluses. Next year's forecast surplus was revised down from $265 million to $43 million and peak debt has been revised upwards. This year's SA deficit will be $279 million, $94 million higher than expected. The projections come just a week after figures released showed the state's unemployment rate has risen to 7.6 per cent, the highest in 14 years and the worst rate in the nation. The Budget includes the abolition of stamp duty on the sale of business properties and axing the same tax on transfers to mining exploration tenements and corporate reconstructions. The cuts are estimated to be worth about $600 million over four years and include phasing out stamp duty on business property transfers over the next three years. The complete abolition of stamp duty on business property transfers is to be implemented by July 2018 - saving an average large business nearly $365,000. A smaller business buying a property is likely save around $67,000. Stamp duty on a number of other items such as nonfixed equipment, assets and intellectual property has also been removed. KPMG's chairman of partners, Mr Con Tragakis, was one of several influential local business leaders to make pre-budget submissions to the SA Treasury "The current tax system," he said, was "forcing business to look for opportunities outside the state." Mr Koutsantonis said the reforms would mean that all business property transactions in South Australia would be tax-free in 2018, benefiting some 6,800 business transfers each year. "It is a remarkable reform. No other jurisdiction in Australia has these type of reforms making our business environment the most efficient in the nation," he said. Mr Koutsantonis added that conveyance taxes on business transactions were particularly inefficient, losing 74 cents from the economy for every dollar raised. "South Australia is home to so many family businesses but they can't restructure because the government is in their path," Mr Koutsantonis said. "What we're doing is getting out of their way." The Liberal opposition have been lobbying for business tax reform for some time, but Mr Koutsantonis State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis announces his 2015 Budget in the South Australian parliament. said that it was not a case of following their lead. "Is it a Liberal agenda or a Labor agenda? It's a South Australian agenda and the reason we've got this agenda is we've got to carve our out own path into the future," Mr Koutsantonis said. While the Budget was lacking big ticket infrastructure promises, it will deliver an extra $110 million to upgrade regional roads and $55 million for a 2.8 kilometre link road in Adelaide's northern suburbs. The same suburbs will also benefit from $25 million from a total $65 million to be spent on the construction and upgrade of public housing, as well as $2 million to develop a Northern Adelaide Food Park. Mr Koutsantonis said the housing refurbishments would result in local work for builders and contractors, and would stimulate the housing market. An industry attraction fund will be created at a cost of $15 million over two years to help secure new investment in SA, while an extra $4 million will be spent on argeting investment from South East Asia. Some of the state's most vulnerable were assisted in the budget with an increase of child protection and more funds for the royal commission into SA's child protection system. Meanwhile, Liberal opposition leader Steven Marshall called the budget a "massive fail" saying that Koutsantonis' tax reforms did not go PHOTO AAP/DAVID MARIUZ. far enough and would do little to address the state's rising unemployment rate. "We needed to see lower payroll tax. That's a straight out tax on employment here in SA," Mr Marshall said. The Liberal leader added that employment growth rates in the budget papers - which predict a 1 per cent jobs growth in the coming year - were a quarter of a per cent lower than the 2015-16 prediction in the 2014 Budget. Sources: ABC/Ten/Adelaide Advertiser Xenophon slams feds on SA unemployment South Australia ‘cut adrift’ says senator Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on the federal government to make an immediate commitment to a local build of the Future Submarines project in order to bolster confidence in the state's struggling jobs market. The call follows the release of the latest unemployment figures which shows SA's rate rose to 7.6 per cent and was the highest in the nation, well above the national average of 6.0 per cent. "These figures are just the tip of the iceberg, given the level of under-employment is dramatically higher, two to three times the headline unemployment rate," said Mr Xenophon. "And the figures for youth unemployment are even worse." The senator predicted that unless the Government committed to the Future Submarines build in SA (providing up to $50 billion of economic activity) and a post-Holden transition for the automotive-sector, unemployment would reach double-digits in the state by the end of 2017. "It seems the Common- wealth has cut SA adrift when it comes to providing the necessary transitional support for auto-making and naval ship building," he said. Senator Xenophon repeated his criticism of the government's "skewed priorities" by promising $5 billion in loans to help develop northern Australia, when "the southern states have been left to fend for themselves". Xenophon said the stark reality of the crisis in manufacturing in South Australia was highlighted with the publication of Australian Jobs 2015 by the Federal Department of Employment this month. The report revealed that in the five years to November 2014, South Australia lost the highest number of jobs from the manufacturing sector, with 11,900 jobs lost. Manufacturing was also the hardest hit national sector, losing 79,000 jobs in the same period.
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