After achieving 0.5 per cent employment growth in 2014-15, the June budget’s anticipated one per cent growth rate was yesterday scaled back to a mere 0.25, “reflecting recent experience and the broader economic growth outlook”.
And the sluggish growth is expected to continue across the forward estimates.
But Koutsantonis told FIVEaa today the pessimistic outlook merely reflected that “I’m a very conservative guy”.
“People who know me know that I like to under promise and overachieve, and I am going to be very conservative with all my forecasts,” he said.
“Now look, a number in the budget doesn’t make it so – all it is is our best guess of what we think is happening.”
Last month, the Government’s Economic Statement flagged the MYBR’s jobs shortfall, signalling that an unemployment rate roughly unchanged at 7.5 per cent over the next two years was a wildly best-case scenario, requiring a doubling of employment growth.
Koutsantonis denies his acceleration of cuts to stamp duty on non-residential real property was prompted by repeated Liberal demands.
He insists he was “always planning to bring them forward in and around December”, arguing: “I said at the last budget I reserve the right to bring these forward.”
“What (the Opposition’s) basically saying now is ‘we’ve run out of ideas, do what Labor is doing but just do it faster’,” he told media yesterday.
“Now that’s a compliment to us and an indictment on them. They’ve got no authentic new ideas.”
Despite the Mid-Year Budget Review ceding to one of the demands in the Liberals’ November “Jobs Stimulus Package”, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall wasn’t enthusiastic about its prospects for success.
“The Government doesn’t give two hoots about job creation in SA…there’s nothing in this Mid-Year Budget Review whatsoever to create any more jobs,” Marshall told ABC891.
But Koutsantonis insists “you can’t de-industrialise our entire automotive industry in this state … and it not have an impact”.
“It’s going to have an impact,” he said.
“I like conservative estimates, I’ve always liked conservative estimates … I don’t like to be putting in very large figures that aren’t going to be achieved.”
The Treasurer today launched a $400,000 national campaign to sell his “nation-leading tax cuts”, which features print and digital ads and airport billboards spruiking SA as a haven for low-cost business.
“What we need now is to try and sell that message internationally and nationally, and try and get more investors into SA and heat up this market here,” he said.
“What we want to do now is say to those entrepreneurs, ‘look, we are now the cheapest state for transactional taxes in the country; you can buy a manufacturing plant, the (intellectual property) of that manufacturing plant and probably the labour force cheaper than you can anywhere else.’”
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