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Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Page: 5014


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (19:30): For South Australia, the Turnbull government's 2018-19 budget was a huge disappointment. It is becoming an annual occurrence under coalition governments. First under the Abbott government, and now under the Turnbull government, it seems coalition governments have little interest in South Australia, where they currently hold only four out of the 11 seats and have limited prospects of increasing their representation.

For the Turnbull government, South Australia is clearly irrelevant. South Australians, however, held out some hope that with the new state government and the economic setback of the Holden closure, for which the coalition government has considerable responsibility, that the 2018-19 federal budget might have been a little more generous. But it was not to be. Instead, it was a budget filled with empty promises that maybe delivered in years to come—that is, if the government continues to be re-elected.

Contrary to the government's talk of major infrastructure funding for South Australia, the real dollars provided to South Australia for road and rail works are in the distant future, and they are clearly spelt out in the budget documents. A joint press statement was released by the RAA, the South Australian Freight Council, Civil Contractors Federation South Australia, and the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy in response to the 2018-19 budget. This statement makes it clear, and I quote the words of Evan Knapp, the executive officer of the South Australian Freight Council:

This year ' s Federal budget is all smoke and mirrors and delivers none of the promise of the pre-budget announcements

The press release accurately points out how little of the funding for the north-south corridor, the Joy Baluch Bridge or the Salisbury to Gawler rail electrification work was actually in the budget. None of these works can take place without the full funding.

Just as disappointing, South Australia only gets $3.7 million, or one per cent, of the $530 million over the forward estimates allocated to the Roads of Strategic Importance program. The Turnbull government's infrastructure announcement is akin to its invisible shipbuilding jobs, which the member for Sturt boasted about having delivered in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election. The truth, which South Australians are not blind to, is that another 223 jobs will be lost at the Australian Submarine Corporation by 30 June, bringing to around 1,000 the number of shipbuilding jobs that have been lost at the ASC over the past three years.

South Australia's unemployment rate is now 5.9 per cent. It's above the national rate. For young people, finding a job in South Australia is becoming increasingly difficult. Infrastructure and shipbuilding projects could immediately create jobs, particularly for skilled ex-Holden workers or young people looking for an apprenticeship. That is particularly important at a time when apprentice numbers in South Australia and, indeed, across the country are falling, having dropped in South Australia from 17,100 in 2016 to 15,700 in 2017. Yet in one of its first acts of stupidity the South Australian Marshall Liberal government is cutting $5 million from TAFE. This comes on top of more than $3 billion of cuts to TAFE by the Abbott-Turnbull governments, and after the widespread skills training rorts by many private providers.

State Liberal and federal coalition governments should stop undermining TAFE by cutting its funding and should support young people who want to take up a trade or a skill here in Australia. It's good to have the nation skilled up for the future, and we should stop relying on importing overseas skilled workers, which has been the trademark of this government ever since coming to office. If there are jobs out there, those jobs should go to Australians who are looking for work. As we know, right now there are about three-quarters of a million people looking for work and more than another million people who would like more hours. For young people the statistics are much worse, with one in three young people either out of work or looking for more hours. We could be doing something for them by simply honouring the budget commitments and allocating the money for projects that would create immediate work. Labor would do that. It would skill up the country by, firstly, scrapping upfront fees for about 100,000 TAFE students and, secondly, committing $100 million to the Building TAFE for the Future Fund. That's what investment in the future is. (Time expired)