Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis will deliver a bigger than expected surplus – and lower debt – when he presents the state government’s Mid Year Budget Review today.
Today’s budget update, the final before SA heads to the polls in March, shows a surplus for 2016-17 of $443 million – $204m more than what was forecast in the 2017-18 State Budget.
“This is a very strong final budget position for 2016-17 with a surplus of almost half a billion dollars,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Our economy performed well in 2016-17, with SA’s Gross State Product increasing by more than any other state on per capita terms - up 1.6 per cent compared with the national rate of 0.4pc.
“We also lived within our means, while focusing on creating jobs by investing in infrastructure and helping small businesses grow and take on new staff.”
The improvement compared with the estimate at the time of the 2017-18 budget reflects a combination of higher than expected revenue of $211m, partly offset by a slight increase in expenditure of $7m.
The boost to revenue was contributed to from a range of sources, including payments for health services accessed by interstate patients and school fees from international students.
“Our strong surpluses in recent years have allowed us to invest in our economy and create jobs as we absorb the shock of the loss of Holden,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Those measures are working, with our unemployment rate improving significantly in the past 12 months.
“We have also paid down debt significantly, improving our financial position and our ability to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects.
“But there is more to do as the full impact of the loss of automotive manufacturing washes through the economy, and that task has been made more difficult as a result of the Liberals blocking the Major Bank Levy, which has ripped more than $370 million out of the forward estimates.”
He said job creation remained the state government’s “number one priority”.
“We will continue to partner with business to create new jobs in high growth industries through our $200m Future Jobs Fund and payroll tax relief for small business.”
The final budget outcome for 2016-17 follows a surplus of $300m delivered in 2015-16.
This is the ninth surplus delivered by the Labor Government since 2002.