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Budget 2018: the key measures

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Here’s our summarised rundown of the 2018 state Budget’s key measures – where the axe falls, and where the State Government is focusing its spending.

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Health bureaucrats to get the chop

One in every 10 staff members at SA Health’s central office will be cut as part of a review of the department’s functions.

The Budget papers say the health bureaucracy’s functions will be reviewed to reduce “duplications”.

“While the department’s role as system planner an manager will remain, its other functions will be reviewed to ensure the duplication of functions is minimised,” the documents say.

“In anticipation of the outcomes of this review, the department’s staffing level will be reduced by a target of 10 per cent.”

Doctors’ private practise fees hiked

Doctors conducting private practise in public facilities will pay higher fees to the taxpayer for the privilege.

Currently, clinicians who have their own private practise in public hospitals pay nine per cent of the income back to the Government.

By comparison, doctors in Queensland and Western Australia pay up to 68 per cent of their income for private practise in public facilities – while doctors in New South Wales pay up to 90 per cent.

Treasurer Rob Lucas argues that doctors unhappy with the move will have to justify why taxpayers should subsidise their activities more significantly than similarly-paid medical officers in other states.

SA Health “bail-outs”

In what Lucas describes as a “bail-out” for the state’s health services, the Government will spend $730 million over the next four years resetting SA Health’s budget targets.

According to Lucas, the department had been given “unrealistic” savings targets by the former Labor Government.

SA Health last month appointed KordaMentha to improve the parlous financial position of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, which manages the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Lucas told reporters today an interim report from KordaMentha showed a likely further deterioration in CALHN’s position this financial year.

“The Government has no option but to take urgent corrective action,” said Lucas, adding that two officials from Treasury had been seconded to CALHN to bring its financial performance under control.

The health department will still have to find about $274 million worth of savings over the forward estimates.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital will also need an extra $12.5 million per year for increased staffing costs, including additional nurses, as a result of the new hospital’s “operating model”.

Borderline personality disorder services

The Government has funded its promised $10 million borderline personality disorder service.

As InDaily has reported over the past several years, services for BPD are difficult to access in South Australia, carers and patients face a stigma – perpetrated by some in the medical profession – and several young women have died of suicide as a result of the disorder in South Australia in recent years.

$2.5 million will be allocated for clinical services, services for people at high risk, carer and family support services, a new mothers program and a young people program, each year over the next four years.

Suicide prevention

Programs aimed at preventing suicide and supporting people bereaved by suicide will receive an additional $602,000 per year.

Barossa Hospital 

The Government will commission a business case for a new hospital in the Barossa Valley, at a cost of $100,000.

It follows the closure of the obstetrics unit at Tanunda Hospital.

Ardrossan Hospital

The Government will spend $720,000 over four years to fund services at the private not-for-profit Ardrossan Hospital.

Education

‘Biggest education spend in SA history’

Schools are set to benefit from what the Government is touting as the largest investment in education in the state’s history.

The Government will provide over $76 million on new education measures, including $27.7 million to move Year 7 students to high school and $15.5 million over four years for an anti-bullying program to replace the now scrapped Safe Schools Anti-Bullying Initiative.

Lucas said recent NAPLAN results showed South Australia was failing to provide a “world-class education”, and that the Government’s funding boost to the Education Department would help improve school results.

About $1 billion will be spent on school capital projects – including the establishment of two new birth to Year 12 schools for the metropolitan area, to be delivered under a Public Private Partnership model at a cost of $361 million.

A new $100 million school in Whyalla will also be built.

Public schools will receive $692 over six years for facility upgrades.

Lucas said the Government was bailing out TAFE SA to the tune of $109.9 million over five years in recognition that TAFE SA’s budget was unsustainable over the forward estimates.

But the Government will be closing seven TAFE campuses in metropolitan and regional SA classified as having “low utilisation rates”.

Arts

The Government has reduced scheduled funding cuts to the arts sector by $2.2 million.

Arts institutions and programs will face a $3 million cut this financial year, increasing to $5 million from next year.

The Government describes the plan as “sustainable” way to achieve “appropriate” cuts to the sector.

Last month InDaily reported Arts South Australia had been shifted into the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in July as part of machinery of government changes.

Grants funding totalling $1 million will be provided to local artists to live and work in the state and an additional $1 million will go towards upgrades to The Chaffey Theatre, Northern Festival Centre and Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre.

Transport

Bus, train services to be cut

“Low patronage” and “duplicate” bus and train services will be cut, saving about $45 million over the next four years.

The Government will work with bus contractors and the yet-to-be-established SA Public Transport Authority to decide which services will be axed.

Right-hand turn

The Government has set aside $37 million over the next two years to build a right-hand turn for trams at the King William Street / North Terrace intersection in the CBD.

City loop tram

$600,000 will be allocated this year to develop a business case for a new tramline extension in Adelaide’s CBD.

Replacing tram tracks

The Government will spend $7.9 million this year renewing the tram tracks between South Terrace and Victoria Square.

SA Public Transport Authority

The Government will spend an extra $2.5 million to establish the South Australian Public Transport Authority, tasked with “investigating how to make public transport more customer friendly and more efficient.

Adelaide Metro for Murray Bridge

The budget contains $150,000 for an investigation into providing Adelaide Metro services in Murray Bridge

Mobile phone charging stations

Up to 10 public mobile phone charging units will be installed at Adelaide train stations at a cost of $100,000.

O-Bahn Park ‘n’ Rides

The Government will spend $18.5 million in 2019-20 to expand the capacity of the Paradise Interchange and Golden Grove Park’n’Ride facilities, which allow commuters to park their cars and use O-Bahn bus services.

Aboriginal Affairs

The SA Native Title Service Grant will be discontinued, saving the Government $550,00 per annum.

The grant is provided to SA Native Title Services, which works with the State Government and Federal Court to protect the Native Title rights of Aboriginal communities.

In lieu of the state treaty process, initiated under the Labor Government, the Marshall Government has outlined a two-year state-wide Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan, which will include a series targets addressing Aboriginal engagement in areas including education, child protection, health and jobs.

Marshall previously indicated to InDaily that the action plan would be published by the end of this year.

The Government will spend more than $300,000 each year to support the establishment of the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.

The Commissioner is yet to be appointed.

Prisons and police

The state’s prisons will be expanded, and programs aimed at preventing crime and assisting the convicted are to be cut.

The Government will spend $149 million to expand the Yatala Labour Prison, adding 270 high-security beds to the facility.

The Adelaide Women’s Prison will also be expanded, gaining 40 beds at a cost of $20 million.

But crime prevention programs and grants to install CCTV cameras in public places will be slashed, saving $3.9 million over the next four years and $1.1 million each subsequent year.

The Government will privatise the Adelaide Remand Centre.

The Government will end grant funding for a Uniting Communities program that has helped people complex communication needs – such as speech disabilities – interact with the criminal justice system, saving $319,000 a year.

Police cadet program shortened, employment delayed

The Government will delay employing new police officers by six months.

The new cadet intake for December 2018 will be delayed until July 2019, saving $1.1 million.

Meanwhile, training for police cadets will be reduced from a 12-month course to an 11-month course, also to save money.

Budget documents insist this reduction in the length of the course will occur “without compromising cadet standards and outcomes”.

Housing

The Government will impose higher rates on households with moderate incomes living in public housing to help persuade people to consider other housing options.

From July 2021, households living in public housing with moderate incomes will pay up to 30 per cent – up from 25 per cent – of their assessable household income on rent.

The Government estimates that between 500 and 1000 households could be impacted by this change.

Twelve full-time Housing Trust staff will be axed to reduce employee expenditure by 15 per cent.

On the upside, housing and homelessness services in SA will receive a funding boost of $118 million each year following the State Government’s recent signing of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.

The NHHA funding will go towards supporting homelessness services across metropolitan and regional SA, including those that respond to specific needs such as domestic violence.

Under the agreement, the Federal Government will provide funding of about $108 million per annum, and the state will provide the remaining $9.6 million.

Child Protection

The Government will cut funding to costly residential care facilities and will invest more funding into extending foster care support for young people, up to 21 years old.

The Department for Child Protection had originally budgeted $3.9 million in 2018-19 for new residential care facilities, but the Government has decided to cut this funding, citing a renewed focus on growing “family-based” placements.

In line with its election commitment, the Government will spend an additional $8.8 million over four years to extend foster and kinship support to carers of young people up to the age of 21-years.

A number of high-ranking executive leaders in the Department will be cut to provide savings of $13.9 million over four years.

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