South Australia’s 46th Premier Steven Marshall has been sworn in — so what are the new Liberal Government’s plans for the state?
We’ve taken a look at some of the key policies that helped the party to its majority victory in Saturday’s election, as well as the challenges it faces in keeping some of those promises.
Deregulating shop trading hours
Tired of waiting for the supermarket to open at 11:00am on Sunday? What about wanting to visit a suburban shopping centre on a public holiday?
The Liberals want to give shops the power to trade when they want, as well as scrapping rules that stop South Australians buying a car on a Sunday.
There’s just one problem — it’s a plan that’s been fought by the independent supermarket chains that control a significant share of the Adelaide market, as well as the Labor and SA Best parties which could scuttle the policy in the Legislative Council.
“We have a history in the Liberal Party of working respectfully with all members of the Legislative Council and that will continue,” Mr Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.
In response, Labor MP Tom Koutsantonis said “large faceless franchises will turn up and ruin South Australia’s small businesses, so we’re going to back up jobs”.
Reducing the Emergency Services Levy [ESL] and lowering taxes
They are among the party’s top priorities.
Steven Marshall said the new Treasurer Rob Lucas would issue instructions to cut the controversial ESLby $90 million from July 1 within the Government’s first week.
The State Budget will likely be delayed until September, as the Liberals prepare to scrap payroll tax for small business.
“We want to grow our economy, we want to create more jobs,” Mr Marshall said.
Re-opening the Repat?
Another pledge for the Liberals’ first week was to zone the Repatriation General Hospital site for healthcare services.
Although the Liberal website says it will “Re-open the Repat”, the Marshall Government may stop short of what some protestors were expecting.
“We never said the hospital… could be re-established in its entirety, what we did say is large parts of that hospital infrastructure would have to be re-utilised,” Mr Marshall said.
One part of the plan is to use the Repat’s Ward 17 to house patients that would have been housed at the Oakden older persons’ mental health service.
Changes to the public service
After 16 years of Labor rule, the departments of the South Australian Government will be preparing for upheaval under the new Liberal Government.
Steven Marshall’s first day includes instructions to change the machinery of government, with new arrangements of ministries and departments.
The Liberals prefer department CEOs to report to a single minister, rather than multiple ministers as occurred in the Labor administration.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has also promised to protect frontline workers — including teachers, nurses and police — from any job cuts.
“If you cut the admin support, a nurse for example, the nurse is just going to be doing their own admin, it’s a false economy,” the Public Service Association’s Natasha Brown said.
A right-hand turn to the Liberal infrastructure plan
If you believe former premier Jay Weatherill, the Liberals made only one transport promise during the campaign — a $37 million right hand turn for the tram line on North Terrace.
The incoming Government wants to set up an independent body called Infrastructure South Australia to make “transparent” decisions that aren’t based on “short-term political imperatives”.
Projects that Steven Marshall would like to be considered include his GlobeLink airport and highway project east of Adelaide, the completion of the north-south road corridor and a possible underground rail link in the CBD.
The Liberals also want it to assess a plan to seal the Strzelecki Track in outback South Australia.
Moratorium on Limestone Coast fracking
The Marshall Government has pledged to bring in a moratorium on fracking in the state’s south-east within its first week.
This puts the new Liberal Premier at odds with his federal counterparts, who believe more gas exploration can shore up Australia’s energy supplies and lower prices for consumers.
Renewable energy to remain a mainstay of SA supply
During the election campaign, the Liberals ran into trouble with the Electoral Commissioner for overstating household savings through their energy plan.
The new Government wants the Commonwealth to set a nationally consistent renewable energy target, but it’s not likely SA’s wind, solar and battery projects are about to go the way of the dodo.
The Liberals will tip in $200 million towards an interconnector to New South Wales.
“In many ways, having an interconnector with NSW will improve the viability of [renewable energy projects] because it will create an export highway out of our state,” Mr Marshall said.
There will also be $100 million to subsidise battery systems for 40,000 homes.
South Australia is set to follow NSW and Victoria with new laws to stop council rates increasing well above inflation.
The incoming Government says it will also stop councils from raising fees and charges to compensate for potentially lower rates.
The policy remains deeply unpopular with the Local Government Association, which said community services will suffer.
Education and child protection reform measures
The Liberals have promised to have a single minister responsible for child protection, but the MP who held the portfolio in shadow cabinet — Rachel Sanderson — is yet to win her seat of Adelaide.
The new Government won’t restrict the child protection workforce to people with a degree in social work, and it wants to make foster care and kinship payments available for people up to 21 years of age.
Literacy coaches will be appointed within the Education Department, drug detection sniffer dogs will be brought in to schools, and an Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner will be hired.
One of the biggest changes in education will be shifting Year 7s into high schools — a transition that could require extensive planning in the department.
Fewer advisors and ‘more transparency’ in the halls of power
The first week of the Marshall Government includes plans to reduce ministerial staff and the amount of government advertising.
The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption will gain the powers to hold public hearings and access cabinet documents.
The Liberals have also promised to stop boozy taxpayer-funded dinners.
One last-minute promise was also made…
Hidden in fine print of Strong Plan for Real Change was an EOI process for a donut franchise in StateAdminCentre! pic.twitter.com/d9F1Ppd61P
— Rob Lucas (@Rob_Lucas) March 18, 2018
Although, we’ve had no confirmation from the new Treasurer whether it will be introduced in the first 100 days.