State budget had not much pizzazz, few surprises

South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas speaks during the 2018 state budget lock-up. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
South Australian Treasurer Rob Lucas speaks during the 2018 state budget lock-up. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

You never know what you're going to get out of a state budget.

This was your columnist's third time in the lock-up in Adelaide, a frenzied – if that word can truly apply to time spent poring over financial documents – few hours spent looking for relevant information, flicking through press releases that double up on the same positive announcements several times over, and thinking of a good question to ask the Treasurer.

The X factor going into this one was that it was the first for Rob Lucas and the Liberals in 16 years.

Sure enough, gone were the glossy photos, replaced with a plain white cover and sensible navy blue text; gone, too, were the extravagant quotes and gestures of Tom Koutsantonis, replaced with the drab but dependable Mr Lucas.

Not that we should badmouth the man – he has just given us seven million bucks for a new hospital emergency department.

That was what we had wanted out of the budget, too: a promise fulfilled.

We had wanted something more for regional South Australia than a token few million dollars' worth of infrastructure spending here and there, and we got that too.

Neither side of politics ever deserves unanimous praise, and there will rightly be anger from Housing Trust tenants who have to pay more, and impatience from commuters or exporters who had hoped for more concrete progress on a bus service to Murray Bridge or the Globelink project.

But what surprises there were were cuts mostly to boards, organisations and outlets based in Adelaide, not in our region.

The rest was election pledges, recently leaked content, and bagging Labor.

Again, it's politics – who can be surprised at that?

Peri Strathearn