South Australian State Budget: All About Families and Kids but What is Missing?

The South Australian State Budget for 2024-25, announced on June 6, 2024, introduces a range of initiatives and investments poised to significantly impact workforce development, education and training, and business opportunities across various sectors.

Key highlights include:

Skills Shortage Solutions – Initiatives to address skills shortages, including dedicated streams supporting the attraction, retention, and upskilling of women in trade occupations through projects like Women in Civil, the BuildHer Campaign, and Brick and Blocklaying projects.

Software Engineering Degree Apprenticeships – Grant funding to establish 75 software engineering degree apprenticeships for the defence industry, providing paid learning opportunities with a focus on attracting women participants.

The National Skills Agreement (over 5 years) covers:

  1. Additional training places, particularly in regional areas
  2. Improvements in apprentice safety and completion rates
  3. Expansion of the VET workforce
  4. Curriculum development aligned with the state’s economic priorities
  5. Investment in teaching equipment and student infrastructure
  6. Tailored programs for First Nations students
  7. Support for workforce planning and defence industry pathways
  8. Regional programs connecting learners, employers, and trainers
  9. Sector-Specific Initiatives

Several sectors receive targeted support in the budget:

Health Sector – Increased funding for hospital upgrades and the expansion of healthcare services, particularly in rural and remote areas, alongside investments in mental health services to improve access and reduce waiting times.

Housing Sector – Commitment to building new affordable housing units and support for first home buyers through grants and stamp duty concessions.

Arts and Culture – A $2 million commitment over four years to support major events and cultural activities, enhancing South Australia’s reputation as a vibrant cultural hub and attracting tourism.

Education Sector – Significant funding increases across all levels of schooling, particularly in early childhood education, with $56 million allocated to early childhood workforce development. The budget also funds school infrastructure upgrades and boosts research funding in higher education, especially in renewable energy, health, and digital technology.

Key areas receiving more support and funding include:

  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy and Hydrogen
  • Tourism
  • Arts Investment Fund
  • Business Events Fund
  • Defence and AUKUS
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives
  • Green Iron and Steel Strategy
  • Net Zero Agriculture
  • Small Business Energy Grants
  • Veteran Community Programs
  • Whyalla Steelworks Transformation

What’s Missing?

Despite these investments, there are notable gaps in the budget:

  1. Innovative Food and Production Horticulture Strategy – A strategy supporting the adoption of AI and new discovery technologies in agriculture and horticulture.
  2. Scaling Up to the World Initiative – Leveraging sister cities, friendly states, and major events such as SXSW in Austin, Sydney and London, London Tech Week, and inbound and outbound business missions. This requires integration of education, employment, entrepreneurial, and workforce ecosystems across metropolitan and regional areas, specific scaling-up capability development, and building out the investor network and options.
  3. Support for Hospitality Businesses – A strategy to enhance hospitality businesses crucial for big events and festivals, sports, and tourism in Adelaide, the suburbs, and regions.

For more detailed information, visit the official budget website at South Australian State Budget 2024-25.

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