South Australia’s enviable track in responding to COVID-19 and appropriate reopening of businesses and borders means that South Australia is well-placed for communities and economies to thrive in the COVID-19 recovery phase. This is not to say that life has been easy for South Australians, but we are still better placed than many other jurisdictions.
“The State Government’s commitment to spending on a $4 billion post COVID-19 economic recovery plan for South Australia is welcome and appropriate. There are times when governments must spend to support the economy and this is one of those times,” said Mark Henley, Manager for Advocacy with Uniting Communities.
We also wish to highlight some of the measures announced in the state budget that deserve emphasis:
- The commitment to mental health funding highlights the importance of continuing attention to mental health as part of the economic recovery.
- The commitment to house an additional 60 “rough sleepers” is welcome and builds on steady progress in the reduction of homelessness.
- The $1b economic stimulus for South Australia regions is important both because the regions drive much of the state’s export earnings and regional communities are invariably less well served in metropolitan communities.
- An additional $4.1 m for NGOs is also welcome. This funding is to support newly vulnerable South Australians needing assistance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Services supported include additional funding for Consumer Credit Legal Centre (provided by Uniting Communities), food relief and microfinance lending services, along with additional funding for emergency financial assistance and financial counselling services.
The budget provides funding for economic stimulus and this now needs to be backed up by an employment strategy for the State which would include jobs for those at risk of being left behind, including older women and young people entering the labour market.
For media comment:
Mark Henley 0404 067 011