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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1265


Mr PASIN (Barker) (10:39): I am disappointed to hear the member for Makin indicate that discussion about disturbingly high unemployment rates in South Australia is nothing more than political point-scoring. That is not the case. High unemployment rates in South Australia are a matter of grave concern.

I am a passionate South Australian: I hope I have made as much clear in the first short while of being in this place. I think, effectively, my priorities are: No. 1, South Australia; No. 2, South Australia; No. 3, South Australia. In fact I feel so much about my state that despite being a passionate advocate and supporter of the Essendon Football Club, deep down when Port Adelaide and the Crows are playing a part of me hopes that they do well. But I am embarrassed by the state of the South Australian economy and I am ashamed by the South Australian government.

In speaking to this, I thought I would get together a list of South Australian Labor state government's greatest hits. I am a fan of the greatest hits albums so I thought I would go through the list. I am grateful that we have the member for Wakefield and the member for Makin here to hear some of these. To be truthful, I am surprised that we have got northern suburb MPs arguing this case on behalf of 'Jay for SA'. I do note that there is a particularly nice ring to 'Don for later on'! When I first heard Jay for SA, I was in support of it because I thought it was Jay for South Africa and I was waiting in the departure lounge.

But let us get back to the greatest hits. Small and medium businesses in South Australia have surely the worst business conditions in mainland Australia. Payroll tax is off the charts. Maybe the member for Wakefield could listen to this: the youth unemployment rate in the northern suburbs in Adelaide is at 45 per cent. Regional South Australia, thankfully, has an unemployment rate of eight per cent.

Mr Champion: What is it in Murray Bridge then? Tell us what it is in Murray Bridge. What's the youth unemployment in Murray Bridge?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): Order! Member for Wakefield, you will have your turn shortly.

Mr PASIN: Kick him out! It would be cause for great acclamation! What about some of these other greatest hits? I am pleased to say that in my region unemployment on average in regional South Australia is at about eight per cent and in the south-east, 6½ per cent.

The jobless rate is of great concern. But Labor had a plan for this. The South Australian Strategic Plan proudly boasted that 100,000 jobs would be created in South Australia. What happened? Instead of creating 4,200 jobs a month, we lost 4,600 jobs a month. That sounds pretty important: you promise one thing but deliver another—and I am referring here perhaps to the carbon tax. But effectively, what has happened in South Australia is that we have transitioned 30,000 private-sector jobs to 20,000 public-sector jobs. That is the difficulty we enjoy in South Australia. We have a centralist state government that does not understand that it is private industry, private businesses, that create and support jobs.

It is not a surprise that we are losing these private-sector jobs. Economic conditions for running businesses in South Australia are the most difficult in the nation. Over a period of 12 years where CPI increased by 39 per cent, state taxes increased by—wait for it—92 per cent, gas bills by 136 per cent, electricity bills by 140 per cent and, not to be outdone, water bills by 227 per cent! Little wonder that businesses in South Australia, facing these imposts, are finding it difficult to create employment. I will not even go to the WorkCover rate, which is twice the national average.

What then? That is the bad news, but the darkest hour is of course always just before the dawn. The people of South Australia have an opportunity on 15 March to right the wrongs of the last 12 years and do what the Australian people did on 7 September and pass judgement on those that have delivered these greatest hits. South Australians want a South Australian government that understands that only a business-led recovery will deliver outcomes for South Australia. Steven Marshall and his team have a plan for that growth—lower taxes and less regulation. In my home town of Mount Gambier, I am pleased to say that Troy Bell from Mount Gambier will deliver that seat and help Steven Marshall deliver government.