State Budget a Metro Budget
Headlines of The Advertiser, Friday, June 23, heralded the much awaited 2017 state budget.
Unfortunately, the contents quickly revealed that it was actually a metropolitan budget, as there was little for the rural sector, despite it contributing $25.4 billion to the state's economy, more than a quarter of the state's gross product.
Turning the first page revealed one of many full page colour advertisements, providing the reader with a clear indication of where the majority of money will be spent.
The graphics used to convey "spending highlights" from the budget resemble high rise buildings, further adding to the growing impression that this was a budget not just for metropolitan areas but also for the forthcoming state election in March 2018.
Additional evidence of this was provided by the $120 million to upgrade everything from playgrounds to sporting fields in the suburbs, including a $40 million Fund My Neighbourhood Program for suburban resident identified projects.
The cynic in me says that a map outlining where the money will be spent will mirror exactly the location of marginal electorates where government members currently preside and face possible defeat.
As an aside South Australia's net debt grows from $6.297 billion in 2016-2017 to $ 6.808 billion in 2019/2020, yet scant mention of this is made.
South Australia's fiscal strength was ranked bottom of all Australian states, in the Centre for Independent Studies Target 30 Report on State Finances written by Robert Carling, released in February 2016 and yet we have this substantial cash splash.
Hopefully metropolitan residents will see through this blatant attempt to buy their votes but I doubt it.
All that glistens is not gold
The community poll on the next stage to win the two million dollar prize offered by the federal government was welcome.
It is a reality that the majority of the NO vote are the farm businesses who see very limited benefit and some threats and the majority of the YES vote are the townies who see no threat to their wellbeing and advantages.
It is likely that local loyalty has been smashed and the once-off two million dollars of taxpayers’ cash would more than likely be neutralised by at a minimum of 10 per cent that has been and will be lost from farm cash to local business every year.
Regardless of the above, there is a strong case for a location near the city where the waste now resides (for at least the last 50 years) and where the best expertise to manage the waste exists (for at least thousands of years).
I know of individuals within 80 kilometres of the city who are prepared to accept the waste, which overcomes the long distances of other locations.
We should never forget that the big corporates like BHP and the Department of Defence will not accept nuclear waste and it therefore begs the question of why should small communities 450kms and 1500kms from the powers that be accept nuclear waste.
And it is remarkable that our federal government cannot find any land which it owns or controls which it cannot "offer" for this nationally important project of disposing of our own nuclear waste.
Thank you to all who have rallied so strongly against the local proposals and standing against the obvious as Shakespeare said of " all that glistens is not gold".
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