Agribusiness & Food, Mining and Heavy Industries

New SA premier vows to help businesses

South Australia’s premier-elect Steven Marshall says his Liberal Government plans to focus on growing the economy by helping businesses after 16 years of Labor rule in the southern state.

The SA Liberals won at least 24 seats at the March 17 state election, securing a majority government, with two seats still in doubt.

Speaking with the press in the days after the election, Marshall – the leader of the SA Liberals since 2013 – said his government would de-regulate shop trading hours, put a cap on local council rates, and cut payroll tax for businesses with a payroll of $1.5 million.

“I’m particularly delighted that the people of South Australia backed us into a majority government because I genuinely believe that’s what we need,” he was quoted by several sources this week.

“We’re going to lower people’s taxes, we’re going to lower their cost of living and we’re going to create more jobs in this state,” he said. “People are sick to death of Labor using household budgets as their guinea pig to advance their own personal, ideological war.”

The Liberals have said the election result will also improve the relationship between governments at the state and federal levels, after a famously fractured relationship between the Turnbull Government and that led by outgoing SA premier Jay Weatherill.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, speaking a day after the election, said Weatherill was “the most vocal opponent” of the Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee plan.

“This is a state election where the Labor premier chose to make federal energy policy the issue and he went out and said this is a referendum on energy policy,” Turnbull said.

“His approach … has led to the most expensive and least reliable energy in the country versus the approach we’re taking. As you know, he butted heads with [federal energy minister] Josh Frydenberg, he made a big deal of his opposition to the federal government’s, to my government’s energy policy, and he asked the South Australian people to vote on it.”

Weatherill has ruled out a speculated move to federal politics, saying he would step down as SA Labor leader, and retreat to the backbench.

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten acknowledged Weatherill’s goal to earn the Liberals a record fifth-consecutive four-year term in South Australia was a “big ask”.

“He leaves South Australia in a better place than he found it,” Shorten said.

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