SA Labor Government Monopoly

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:42 :02 ): I rise to speak on a matter of interest which received a lot of media attention last month. The member for Mawson and Minister for Tourism in the other place launched the Adelaide version of the board game Monopoly. It got me thinking, what would the Monopoly board look like if we based it on Labor's actual achievements? First, we would need to select a token. Perhaps the iron to symbolise the dead weight that exists in the current government and in the state's economy, or perhaps the dog because the government is constantly chasing its tail. Whatever token we chose, the member for West Torrens would have undoubtedly chosen the race car.

Firstly, the Labor government has helped the Monopoly millionaire man by raising the cost of utilities. Under this government, the cost of water has increased by some 236 per cent; compare that with inflation only up 41 per cent over the same period. Thanks to this government, South Australia has the highest average water bill in the country, slugging ratepayers an average $790 for their annual bill. Putting it into perspective, the very good people of Victoria are paying less than $500.

As for electricity, under this government bills are expected to increase by $85 this year alone. Looking back, electricity has increased by some 160 per cent and South Australia now boasts the highest electricity prices in the country, with the average annual bill in South Australia of some $2,335. Perhaps the emergency services levy could feature as a Community Chest card. It could read, 'Unfortunately you live in South Australia, please pay an additional 1,200 per cent'—

The Hon. K.J. Maher interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Maher, the opposition leader has the floor and you will let him do so in peace.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Thank you for your protection. Maybe as a Community Chest card it could read, 'Unfortunately you live in South Australia, please pay an additional 1,200 per cent on your current emergency services levy bill.' In real terms, that is an average annual increase of $150 per household and, as I have previously mentioned, it is easily in the tens of thousands of dollars that our farmers, schools and councils are paying extra.

On top of the toxic taxes, Labor's exorbitant payroll tax could take the place of the home loan deposit square of $100 on the Monopoly board. However, Labor's payroll tax is not so forgiving. If you are a small business owner making your way around the proverbial Monopoly board you can expect to pay the second highest payroll tax in Australia.

The rail roads are often a prized piece of property on the Monopoly board, but not so here in South Australia. Unfortunately, the government has left the rail system in disarray. Most recently, the Gawler line has had a $46.6 million writedown due to the government's mismanagement. You might be more inclined to take the bus but, think again. In the first quarter of 2014, 14 per cent of buses ran late and 12 per cent of trains ran late and almost 15 per cent of people catching trams are evading paying fares. It is clear that the government does not have a handle on public transport and how to operate an efficient system.

If you are lucky enough to land on some real estate, think twice about buying it. South Australia's land tax has increased some 309 per cent under this government and it is 36 per cent above the national average. If you were playing South Australian Labor Monopoly with someone from Western Australia, you would be paying 494 per cent more on the same $2 million property. Also, since the year 2000, stamp duty on the median price of a house has increased from some $4,270 to in excess of $16,000 today. It is hardly worth finding a property if this government insists on maintaining inhibitive taxes which prevent property development and economic growth.

If you are lucky enough to get thrown in the monopoly gaol to avoid all these taxes for free rolls of the dice, unfortunately under this Labor government we now have a prison crisis. South Australian prisons are overcrowded and you will be out of prison beds by 2016. In 2009, they flushed away $10 million on private contractors not to build a new prison. Like I said before, it is like a dog chasing its tail.

When you finally pass 'go', when this government has sucked you dry, instead of collecting $200 as is customary in Monopoly, the Labor government will probably find another tax to slug you with and, at best, you will receive the lowest minimum wage on the mainland. Minister Bignell and his colleagues would have the public think that their Adelaide edition of Monopoly was a quirky promotion of our state. Actually, it is just symbolic of their approach to governing this state: it is just a big game.

The PRESIDENT: I haven't heard a speech like that since Hendrik left. The Hon. Mr Maher.

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