08 Jul, 2016

City of Adelaide welcomes city-focused State Budget

City of Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese today welcomed the 2016-17 State Government budget and its focus on employment growth and support for business.

The Lord Mayor commended the Budget which acknowledges the role that the city is playing in the transformation of the South Australian economy and has welcomed the opportunity this Budget brings to the city with its broad focus on arts, transport, sustainability and vibrancy.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis today announced a $109 million job creation grant scheme that will pay between $4000 and $10,000 to businesses for each new worker they hire. It is estimated these grants will support 14,000 new jobs over the next two years.

Lord Mayor Haese said that the attention on creating jobs and supporting entrepreneurs and business in this Budget was welcome news and aligned well with the direction of Council’s 2016-20 Strategic Plan.

“Last year I held a Mayors Jobs Growth Summit to map out a plan to help create more local jobs. Now we are seeing the State Government commit funding to assist business, attract investment and stimulate growth to create jobs and help get the state’s economy back on track,” he said.

Payroll tax relief will also continue, along with $29.8 million of extra spending on innovation initiatives for entrepreneurs and business.

These include a $50 million South Australian Venture Capital Fund aimed at promoting innovation, $10 million for the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund which will assist start-ups and $7.5 million for the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute to encourage innovation, collaboration and new industry. The budget also provides $4.7 million towards the Gig City project to connect existing innovation spaces within the CBD to create an ultra-high speed broadband innovation network.

The announcement of a Gig City network will support small to medium enterprises in the city which make up around 98 percent of businesses in the city, accelerate economic growth and provide more entrepreneurial opportunities. Lord Mayor Haese describes ultra-fast data as “having a truly transformational effect on the City of Adelaide.”

The Budget also commits more than $65 million towards upgrades to theatres, arts and cultural programs aimed at supporting the Government’s vision of a vibrant State.

“We’re delighted to see a focus on arts and culture given the emphasis on being a creative city in our 2016-20 Strategic Plan. The additional support for the OzAsia Festival works with our Strategic Plan outcome to develop Adelaide as the premier international arts market, especially within the Asian region.

“Adelaide has long had a reputation as a city that supports live music and performance and our commitment to music was internationally recognised last year when Adelaide became the only Australian city to be named a UNESCO City of Music.

“The funding committed to live music, upgrading Her Majesty’s Theatre, revitalising our city’s laneways and developing a business case for a new contemporary gallery will further cement our international reputation for arts, culture and festivals,” Martin said.

“It’s also good to see $35 million extra funding committed to tourism and $20 million committed to an Economic Investment Fund to continue to attract business to the State.

“City of Adelaide and the State Government are working in partnership on the Carbon Neutral Adelaide Action Plan to see Adelaide become the world’s first carbon neutral city. This Budget sees $11.9 million committed to this project, which aligns with one of Council’s key priorities in its 2016-20 Strategic Plan.”

Recently announced as part of the State Budget is $50 million towards extending the tram line down North Terrace to the East End, a project in which City of Adelaide has committed $5 million funding for public realm upgrades and a new tram stop.

“The extension of the tram down North Terrace is a significant project that will contribute to an improved city experience for residents, workers, students and visitors by making it easier to travel into and around the CBD,” Lord Mayor Haese said.

Stamp duty concessions for the off-the-plan apartment sales are set to continue.

“The continuation of stamp duty concessions for off-the-plan apartments is great news for the city and North Adelaide as it will help stimulate the property and construction sector and help the city continue to grow. We hope that it will continue in the city past the end of this financial year.

“We are also pleased to see $25 million going towards an electronic planning system. Council has long advocated for this type of system; e-planning forms a backbone of a customer-centric planning system that fosters new development and business growth,” said the Lord Mayor.

Another $250 million will be made available through a loan scheme, at the government borrowing rate, to the state’s non-government schools for investment in infrastructure upgrades. There are eight private schools in the city.

“We would hope that our city’s schools would take up this opportunity as it may increase their options and attract more students.”

However, the Lord Mayor registered concern for the lack of funding for some key city projects.

“It is disappointing to see a lack of investment in Grenfell Street. Given the current state of the road surface due to the volume of bus traffic and further increases expected upon the opening of the new OBahn tunnel in late 2017, this transport corridor requires urgent attention.

“I would encourage the State Government to also consider a future commitment to funding works on North Terrace West to improve people and vehicle movement, given the upcoming opening of the new RAH, medical school, UniSA centre and the expected related development in the North West corner of the CBD.

The Lord Mayor summarised with;

“I acknowledge that City of Adelaide’s Strategic Plan includes actions and outcomes that directly align with the State Government’s focus in this Budget. We are working in a strong partnership to boost city business, increase residential growth, attract investment, grow tourism, build a smart city and improve public transport,” the Lord Mayor said.

For more information

Paula Stevens