Uniting Communities has backed the Government’s new agenda as outlined in the Governor’s Speech to Parliament today.

“No doubt not every South Australian will embrace the priorities and reforms that have been identified,” said Uniting Communities Chief Executive Simon Schrapel, “but we see in the Governor’s speech a key set of commitments that has the potential to transform our state”.

“At the heart of the reform agenda is a promise to radically reform our taxation system – a bold but necessary measure. While some will be nervous about tax change, the State and our Nation need to be prepared to rethink how to get taxation re-calibrated so that it raises sufficient revenue to meet community needs AND encourages economic and job growth” said Mr. Schrapel.

That South Australia is prepared to take a lead in opening up this debate is commendable. Uniting Communities looks forward to contributing to this discussion with our own views on how to get a fairer tax outcome for South Australians. But we will also hold the Government to account for not only talking about reform but delivering on it.

Uniting Communities has also welcomed a raft of other measures outlined in the Government’s agenda including:

• a commitment to ensure a more open planning system which enables future growth of the Adelaide CBD

• the reform of our justice system and preparedness to look at options beyond imprisonment for some offenders

• a strengthening of responses to violence against women – hopefully backed by renewed levels of investment in programs that reduce violence

• acknowledging our growing aging population – not as a drag on society but as a real asset for the community.

In addition to these areas, Uniting Communities has a particular interest in the renewal of our neighborhoods and more specifically our housing stock. Mr Schrapel welcomed the commitment to renew more than 4500 old Housing Trust homes.

“However in applauding this commitment we also recognise that this is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to affordable housing supply. With a declining number of public housing properties, we still need new ideas to increase affordable housing stock in SA. We don’t just need another upgrade, we need 5000 new affordable properties to be built, which is why an urgent investment in an Affordable Housing Foundation is needed” said Mr. Schrapel.