I rise to speak on the Supply Bill 2017 which proposes to give the government $5.9 billion to spend in the next financial year, ahead of the budget being prepared. This is equivalent to five months' worth of the budget, or five-twelfths. Previously, for the last several years, this has been in the vicinity of $3 billion. Why is there such a large increase of almost double the money that is not being accounted for that is simply being given without reason?
Why can this Labor government, after 15 years, not deliver a budget in a timely manner, well before the end of the financial year, so that they do not have to ask for the equivalent of five months' worth of money without any approval, without any transparency and with no idea of what the money is for? I note that the Victorian government, the New South Wales government and the federal government have managed to get their budgets prepared in the month of May with plenty of time, not needing a huge amount of appropriation without any due consideration.
For the last two financial years, the government have described their budgets as jobs budgets, yet the statistics show that the unemployment rate for South Australia is 6.7 per cent, which is the highest in the nation. We have 58,800 people unemployed and looking for work. Only 16,900 jobs have been created since Labor promised 100,000 extra jobs in February 2010. Since 2004, 39 companies have closed in South Australia and 72 companies have downsized. During Labor's 15 years in government, 7,728 companies have been declared insolvent.
This government has no ability to manage the finances of the state, nor does it have the ability to help the economy, to help small businesses to grow and to help people stay in our state. We know we are losing people interstate: our net interstate migration for the year ending September 2016 was 6,484. The people who are leaving are leaving because they are getting jobs interstate. These are highly employable people who are very valuable to our state. They are leaving because there are no opportunities for them in South Australia.
I reflect on one of the main reasons that I decided to run for parliament. There were two main reasons, but one was that I could not bear the thought of this Labor government destroying my state any further and watching the poor priorities. The bad economic management of this state was all too much. Having a modelling agency, I saw young people finish their degrees and leave our state for work. That was one of the reasons that prompted me to get involved in parliament so that I could make a difference and make the changes that were required.
I believe that people with a small business background, an entrepreneurship background, who have worked and who can see opportunities, who have started something from nothing after risking everything they have to make a go of it, are exactly the type people we need in parliament to turn around the economic mess that we have after 15 years of Labor. We cannot afford to be losing our best and brightest out of the state.
We also have another issue. Some people come back to have their children and then many of them leave again. Most of the people in my age group, in their 40s, leave because the management and the higher positions are in the head offices in Melbourne and Sydney. Remember that in the eighties, we were in the top 3 of the states, not only in population but in the number of the top 100 companies. So, you could have upper management jobs and stay in South Australia, whereas now there are hardly any of those jobs.
In fact, I meet people every week in a situation where the husband now lives interstate, away from the wife and family. We know South Australia is a beautiful state. It is a wonderful place to live. We have great weather, we have great city planning, we have great amenities in our state, but we do not have jobs. Many families are being separated so that the husband or the wife, whoever has the job interstate, spends most of their time living interstate, or it could be that they fly out for the week and then fly back. We must put an end to that and get our state working again.
Nearly every primary school in the state seat of Adelaide is at capacity. Prospect North is almost at capacity for the first time, but every other school is at capacity. We need to be looking at how we change our schooling zones, or whether we add extra schools or add extra capacity to the schools we have. I note that Labor has been forced into implementing the Liberal policy that was announced in 2009 for a second city high school. Thankfully, that is underway and should hopefully open in 2019.
I note that for around a decade there was an issue that was ignored by the Labor government. It was only through the persistence of myself and the parents on the governing councils and all the principals of the primary schools, through their hard work and lobbying, that finally Labor had to listen. They are finally building a second high school. It should open 10 years after it was announced by the Liberal Party, but better late than never I guess you could say.
In my electorate, I have been doing extensive doorknocking as I have done for every election, as I have done for the two federal elections and as I have done every time there is an issue that is worthy of doorknocking the area. The main issues that are raised continually are around development. This Labor government's pig-headed pursuit of their own deeply flawed 30-year plan, with overestimated population targets, has meant there has been a rush to put high-rise development, tilt-up concrete and unacceptable developments throughout all residential areas.
In Prospect in particular, where the mayor was the Labor candidate and very keen to pursue the Labor policy, we have seen a plethora of units being built all along Churchill Road and Prospect Road where residents continually complain to me about the poor design, the lack of green space, the lack of parking, the issues for traffic management and the overshadowing of their gardens, their solar panels, their sunlight and their enjoyment. The issue we will have when all the gaps are filled and these units are built right to the boundary is that, as soon as the next lot of units are built in the gap, their balconies will basically be touching.
There are grave concerns. I have had people in tears, long-term residents of Prospect, who are moving out because they cannot bear what is happening to their local area. It is not that people are opposed to development and improvement. Prospect is actually one of the most densely populated suburbs in Australia; it is not as though we needed to rush to add more people. A lot of the blocks are quite large and were already being split into twos and threes with hammerhead developments and duplexes adjoined with a wall.
There was no need for us to push ahead and rush to build as much as possible, which now means that everyone is regretting what has happened in Prospect. It is also happening in the city. The Mayfield development is a good example. At least five years ago, I remember being part of community protests in Whitmore Square against the Mayfield development when they were proposing three towers. I believe they were to be around 10, 12 and 14 storeys high.
Five years later, that project is not off the ground at all, despite increases in height limits being approved. People in Adelaide do not want that development. They are not prepared to live in that style of development. I note that the Ergo Apartments that were also released for sale around the same time, which I believe are four or five storeys in height, sold like hot cakes. That development is finished and people have been living happily there for years now.
You do not just develop the highest you can, with as many people as you can and make as much money as possible. You need to look at development that people actually want to live in, that enhances the natural community that we have and does not destroy the very way of life that people live in an area for: the trees, the greenery, the community feel.
I met Jan Gehl in Copenhagen. The famous architect from Copenhagen has done several reports in South Australia and he said that if you cannot design a building that is profitable to five storeys then you are not a very good architect and you are not a good businessperson. We do not need high-rise to be profitable or affordable. We need to start thinking about our own community and what Australians like living in and start developing that with high quality. Yes, we need affordable housing, but we do not need every single bit of space used up, leaving us with no greenery and with overshadowing and no design. We need the structures to look good.
We have had 15 years of a Labor government that pays lip service with grand gestures and reviews. We need action. We do not need any more reviews and commissions we need action. The state government is expecting a $300 million surplus this year. However, bear in mind that they received a $490 million payment for the Motor Accident Commission, which they sold, which is privatisation.
This government keeps going on about ETSA being sold, yet during its time, and during my term here in parliament, this Labor government has sold the forests, it has sold the lotteries, and it has sold the Motor Accident Commission. Kevin Foley even tried to sell a building in the city the government did not even own. They are now selling the Lands Titles Office. I believe they are selling the State Administration Centre and buildings around Victoria Square. Anything that has value, this government is selling to prop up its own budget so that it will leave an incoming government—hopefully a Liberal government next March—with absolutely nothing to work with.
But we will—and we will do it gladly—build from nothing, as I did with my business. I started from nothing. The Liberals know how to do that. Unfortunately, history shows that Labor comes in, spends all the money, trashes the house and sells any assets that make money. The Liberals come in and have to fix it all up again. We will do it and we can do it.
Under this government, we have seen our water prices rise by 233 per cent, to the extent that the sewerage and water services just coming to your house are so expensive, particularly in my electorate, where the cost of land has increased so significantly that one of my residents, 96-year‑old Dorothy, in order to try to save money on her water bill, uses her rainwater tanks and carries buckets of water into the house. That really does not do a lot other than hurt her back, but she feels that she needs to save every bit of money that she can because she is on a pension and it is very difficult to afford even just the supply charge.
The supply charge is actually the biggest amount that she is paying, but to try to save even a few dollars she risks injuring herself by carrying buckets of cold rainwater from her backyard into her house. This is what this Labor government has done to the people of Adelaide and South Australia, not to mention the power bills and the crisis that we are having there. We know that we have the most unreliable, highest-cost power in Australia. We should have low cost power in our state. We have plenty of assets that can produce electricity.
We have gone too fast, too soon with our green energy, without a proper backup, without a base load supply. There have been many warning signs that this government has ignored, including an offer from Alinta of $25 million over three years that would have secured a base load during the transition. We are all of the view that a transition to green energy is wise, but it must be done in a sensible way so that you do not shut down businesses, that you do not lose jobs and that you do not have households losing all the food from their fridges and freezers, hundreds of dollars worth, because we cannot get our energy mix right. That just shows you what this Labor government is all about.
Whilst we will support the Supply Bill, I note that this government continues to be reckless with our state's money and economically mismanage our state, as it has done for the last 15 years. Hopefully, by next March, we can put an end to it.