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SA business unimpressed with leaders’ economic plans

Leaders' business pitches failed to inspire
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The business community has expressed some disappointment with the South Australian Premier and Opposition Leader’s plans for the economy.

Liberal leader Steven Marshall has backed away from a plan to exempt apprentices from payroll tax, while Premier Jay Weatherill is at odds with the state’s most powerful union leader on the issue of tax relief for business.

At a debate before business leaders in Adelaide, the two leaders failed to take up the issues of the level of the GST, council amalgamations, toll roads or nuclear power, much to the annoyance of their host.

“Apparently neither side’s got a plan and we’re disappointed by that.” said Nigel McBride of Business SA.

It also was disappointed when Mr Marshall ruled out reinstating payroll tax exemptions for apprentices which were cut by Labor.

The Opposition Leader may have had some differences with his core constituency, but the Premier also has differences, with Labor’s most powerful union backer Peter Malinauskas.

“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs and any good unionist, any good person who wants to see jobs in our state, would agree with that,” he said.

But Premier Jay Weatherill has been arguing the Opposition’s promised payroll tax relief would simply line the pockets of business.

“That’s not going to be invested in new jobs, but what will happen is it will impoverish the capacity of governments to invest in infrastructure, skills,” the Premier said.

Differences do not end there: Mr Malinauskas would not comment on the Premier’s decision to scuttle a bid by Senator Don Farrell to enter State Parliament via the safe state seat of Napier.

But Mr Malinauskas was full of praise for Senator Farrell.

“Don Farrell acted in the way that he’s always acted in regards to internal party matters. He acted in the interests of the party and that’s a position I wholeheartedly support,” he said.

The powerful right-faction figure says Mr Weatherill’s leadership is safe.

“Left, right, centre. I don’t care. If Jay Weatherill is re-elected, he should remain Premier for as long as possible,” he said.