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GST windfall but SA still out of pocket

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South Australia received a nearly $1 billion increase in GST revenue from the federal government over the last financial year, but Treasurer Rob Lucas says the revenue is still below pre-COVID forecasts.

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Goods and Services Tax revenue paid from the federal government to South Australia jumped $926 million in the 2020-21 financial year compared to estimates made at last year’s state budget.

It is also forecast to increase $668 million in the 2021-22 financial year.

The budget papers attributed the upward revisions to “underlying strength in activity statements in the current year and upgrades to the outlook for consumption”.

“Over the latter half of the forward estimates period, improvement in the outlook for the labour market is expected to drive higher prices and wages growth supporting tax receipts,” the budget papers forecast.

While the GST increase will give hope for more spending at June’s state budget, Lucas cautioned that the revenue improvement is still lower than pre-COVID estimates.

“While our improved GST position is clearly welcome, compared with GST estimates in our 2019-20 Mid-Year Budget review prior to the impact of COVID-19, GST revenue is still forecast to be $375 million lower in 2020-21 and $364 million lower in 2021-22,” he said.

Among other measures handed down for South Australia in last night’s budget are $26.9 million investment over four years to improve the state’s family court system.

This will “improve access to legal assistance for family law matters” in SA and “increase judicial and court resources in the South Australian family law registry” according to the budget papers.

A $6 million investment to upgrade the Netball South Australia Stadium in Mile End was also announced in the budget papers, supporting $12 million in state government funding for the project announced in November last year.

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