My aim, above anything else, is to get South Australia working again

How good would it be to get South Australia working again? Growing again. Prospering again. Respected again.

I was born just a few weeks before Sir Thomas Playford retired from Parliament. He left us with a transformed economy, growing consistently at a rate better than the rest of Australia. This is a legacy Labor has squandered.

More than ever since Playford, South Australia needs a Liberal government again. To arrest the decline in the South Australian economy. And in our State’s share of the national economy.

About 100,000 more South Australians would be in work today had our State maintained the share of our nation’s jobs we had under the last Liberal Government.

That represents thousands of families with jobs and all that means to men, women and children – respect, pride, security, independence.

But over the past two years alone, our rate of job creation has been only half the national growth. As a result, more and more South Australians are seeking opportunities elsewhere. This is Labor’s disastrous legacy.

At the 2010 South Australian election, Labor promised to create 100,000 jobs in the following six years. More than seven years later, Labor remains short of its target by about 80,000 jobs.

Labor continues to fail in the basics. As a result:

  • South Australia has had the highest unemployment in the nation for almost three years
  • Our electricity prices have soared to the highest in the world
  • Our water costs more than anywhere else in Australia
  • Public transport fares, car registration fees and other government charges continue to rise in real terms, putting even more pressure on the everyday cost of living
  • The scandals in child protection and at Oakden have brought shame on our State
  • While education and health services fail to deliver what our people need with standards continuing to fall behind the rest of the nation

Labor gets a capital F for failure in the basics. And after 16 years in government this time around, Labor isn’t going to change. During the long Labor years since 2002, spending has been kept within budget only twice.

Households and businesses can’t function like that. But Labor only makes it even more difficult for them by taking the lazy option of raising taxes because Labor can’t manage its own budget.

We are committed to ensuring government spending remains within budget. And by keeping taxes down, a Liberal Government will get business activity up.

Another way we’ll do that is to remove unnecessary regulation like Labor’s union-driven laws which keep our shops shut when their owners and customers want them open.

We are also determined to have productive infrastructure that anticipates and facilitates economic opportunity.

That’s why we will pursue our Globe Link Plan. We must have strong and sustainable growth in our exports. Just to our nation’s north is the biggest, fastest growing market for premium foods and services in history. It’s an immense opportunity.

But we have to do more than talk about opportunity. We have to grasp it by working together to create the jobs that come with exporting more.

That’s why we’ll create Infrastructure South Australia to drive our infrastructure planning with strong private sector input.

In our schools, we will encourage more involvement of parents in the education of their children.

In health, we will decentralise the system through metropolitan and regional management boards that fully engage local communities and health professionals in shaping our services.

We have a comprehensive policy agenda based on my 2036 Plan released last year. We’ve announced more than 40 polices so far, with a strong focus on the economy, jobs and reducing the cost of living.

I am passionate about South Australia and our people. We are a state of great opportunity. Of skilled, clever thinkers and creative, artistic, talented people. We remain a State built on hard work, resilience and ingenuity.

We need to have confidence in our abilities to work together to achieve a better, stronger future. And we need a path to get there. The Liberals are prepared, we are determined and united.

We are ready to deliver the change needed.

Across the decades, in government and in opposition, it has been in our DNA to do the right things – the basic things - to grow our economy, create jobs and advance the well-being of all South Australians.

Should we be honoured to win the support of the people of South Australia next March, I look forward to reporting to you on the first 100 days of a Liberal Government.

To report that taxes will be coming down. And job creation is going up.

That we are re-building not only the economy, but respect for our State.

That we are moving to make our power supply more affordable and reliable.

That parents are getting more say in how the schools of their children are run.

And quality health care is no longer being held back by too much bureaucracy.

We look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. Not for ourselves, but for every South Australian. Let’s get our State working for all of us.

So that South Australia prospers again.