News State SA News Bleak SA budget predicted

Bleak SA budget predicted

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A worsening budget position has been outlined by the South Australian Government in its mid-year review.

The budget is expected to be $955 million in the red this financial year, a rise of $44 million and next year’s deficit is expected to be $80 million higher.

The Government says its general debt position will improve this financial year by $310 million, to $6.6 billion.

Premier and Treasurer Jay Weatherill said last financial year’s deficit came in $350 million better than expected.

“The final outcome for 2012-13 was a net operating deficit of $948 million, which was an improvement of more than $350 million on the estimated result,” he said.

The Health Department has been given revised savings targets, with $103 million to be forgiven over the next three years.

Mr Weatherill says South Australians will face no additional budget cuts and a return to surplus is still forecast for the 2015-16 financial year.

The Premier says he has delivered the mid-year review sooner than usual so Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has “nowhere to hide” on policy costings ahead of the March 15 state poll.

State funding for upgrade work on the Gawler rail line has been pulled after the Coalition withdrew the federal contribution.

The Opposition has seized on forecast poorer jobs growth to attack Mr Weatherill’s economic credibility.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall says jobs growth was forecast at 1 per cent but now has been revised down to 0.25 per cent.

“We’ve lost 33,000 full-time jobs since the May budget was brought down and yet today in the mid-year budget review there’s more doom and gloom for families,” he said.

The Government says there will be an additional 1,067 full-time public servants employed over the next four years.