SOUTH Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is asking voters to put faith in the Government presiding over economic growth.
It comes in a pre-election Budget that promises a return to surplus in 2016.
Mr Weatherill's first Budget as Treasurer is light on big new spending programs and being sold as a "strong" plan for jobs growth as the state grapples with major changes in the global economy.
However, he faces an uphill battle to convince voters disappointed by the Olympic Dam expansion delay and past broken surplus promises.
Mr Weatherill announced a sprinkling of new infrastructure projects, including electrifying part of the Gawler rail line, and increased public sector savings that will result in more than 5000 job cuts over four years.
Mr Weatherill has promised an upgrade of South and Grange roads, a revamped city courts precinct, $27 million for extra skills training and more rail and bus services around Tonsley.
Business gets modest payroll tax relief and disability funding has been increased.
The Budget reveals a record $1.3 billion deficit for the current financial year, improving to a $911 million shortfall in 2013-14.
A $431 million deficit is tipped in 2014-15, before a $375 million surplus in 2015-16.
Mr Weatherill revealed new spending totalling $1.3 billion in his first Budget as Treasurer and last before the March election.
The Budget drew immediate accusations of tricky accounting and unrealistic revenue expectations from the Opposition, which accuses the Government of holding back the private sector with high regulation and taxes.
In his Budget speech, Mr Weatherill told Parliament the economy flourished most when "strong government has partnered with the business sector and the community to create opportunity", while claiming the Opposition would slash and burn.
"In our state, governments must take a leadership role in supporting sectors of the economy that are adjusting to the pressures of great economic change and must help drive opportunity," he said.
"Our climate is harsh, our regions are sparsely populated and the delivery of services and utilities are expensive. But with creativity and hard work, we have always prevailed."
Total government debt is forecast to peak at $13.7 billion in 2016, when the new Royal Adelaide Hospital opens, before dropping by $600 million the next year.
The state's annual interest bill is to reach $952 million in 2017.
However, Mr Weatherill will not be forced to deliver on many of his promises until after the March election.
Despite talking tough about cutting spending since the global financial crisis, the Government has added what it calls an "extraordinarily low" level of $131 million in new net spending across the Budget.
There is $1.3 billion in new spending measures, which the Government claims are largely offset by savings.
Department of Premier and Cabinet figures show there are now 800 more public servants than when the Government first flagged major job cut plans in 2010, raising doubts about its ability to deliver.
The Government is also expecting a dramatic rebound in revenue to underwrite its surplus forecast.
It expects real revenue growth of 6 per cent in 2015-16. The state lost 6 per cent in real revenue this year.
Mr Weatherill insists that this Budget projections are conservative and believable.
Jobs are forecast to grow by about 1.5 per cent in each of the next four years, half the national average.
Gross state product is expected to grow about 2.5 per cent each year, just below the national average.
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said the Government had delivered a "massive blowout" in the deficit.
"Families are going to be doing it extremely tough," Mr Marshall said.
"The rate of increases in terms of fees, licence renewals and a range of car registrations and so on have gone up."
He refused to detail what the Opposition would change, saying plans would be made public before the election.
The Budget continues $8500 cash payments for people building new homes until December 31 and stamp duty concessions for off-the-plan CBD apartments for five years.
Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride said the Budget "fails to make tough decisions to restore the budget to balance faster" or deliver large-scale tax reform needed to stimulate jobs growth.
"This Budget does not provide real relief and stimulus to the businesses of South Australia," he said.
"SA will continue to have one of the most uncompetitive taxation systems in the country."
Public Service Association general secretary Jan McMahon said she was "cautious" of an extra 1 per cent spending cut imposed on departments and what that would mean for jobs.
"South Australia cannot afford further cuts with an already reduced public sector struggling to cope with the greater demands of an increased population," she said.
Motor Trades Association chief executive John Chapman said the Budget was full of "baubles and trinkets" and did "nothing to provide the substantial lift we need in a very poor economy".
"There are a number of assumptions on growth in the budget which we have to query in the current economic environment," Mr Chapman said.
"What business needs is tax relief so they will be encouraged to employ more people."
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