Cheaper home builds, bill relief promised in state budget 2023
First home buyers and property developers in the Murraylands will be among the big winners from this year’s state budget. Here’s what else is in it for our region.
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Housing help is on the horizon, the state government has promised in its 2023 budget.
Murraylands residents struggling to find somewhere to live will get help to buy their own homes, including:
Immediate abolition of stamp duty for first home buyers
Continuation of the $15,000 first home owners’ grant
Access to Homestart loans requiring deposits as low as two per cent of the purchase price
The measures will only be accessible to first home buyers, and will only apply to new home builds – something sure to please the developers of Newbridge, Hindmarsh Estate and other Murraylands housing projects.
The government also plans to build $32 million worth of new public housing across regional South Australia in 2023-24; but has not yet announced whether any of it will be in Murray Bridge, where it has built about a dozen new homes in the past year.
And a recently created Office for Regional Housing will continue to work with councils and major employers to address shortages in particular areas.
But building any new homes will take time.
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In the meantime, Treasurer Stephen Mullighan defended the government’s current level of spending on public and social housing.
“This budget doesn’t fix everything in the housing market,” Mr Mullighan said.
“But it makes a significant inroad in a range of different areas.”
Unlocking more land for new builds would free up existing houses, he suggested, and the extra supply would put the brakes on price rises somewhat.
Among the other measures which will affect the Murraylands in Thursday’s state budget were:
Cost of living: 420,000 eligible households and 86,000 eligible small businesses will each get $500 worth of energy bill relief in 2023-24, which might not reduce bills much but should stop them going up. Parents of public school students will again get a $100-per-child school fees rebate.
Floods: The government will buy $1.25 million worth of flood barriers to be stashed away in case of a future emergency. No other new flood relief measures were announced in the budget, though previously announced relief will cost more than $140 million over a three-year period; and there was no word on the future of the Lower Murray’s agricultural levees. The government did report having cleaned up 30 tonnes of dead fish along the River Murray over the summer, including at Murray Bridge and Wellington.
Roads: The government will spend another $9 million on its $46 million upgrade of the Old Murray Bridge in 2023-24. Somewhat alarmingly, the budget listed the completion date for that project as June 2025, contrasting with the department’s recent assertion that it will be finished later this year. Money has also been set aside for upgrades of the South Eastern Freeway and Princes Highway, though that spending will be shared with the Adelaide Hills and Limestone Coast. About $2.5 million per year will be spent on regional road safety upgrades.
Schools: A $5 million upgrade of Murray Bridge North School, featuring new junior primary classrooms and outdoor spaces, is due to be finished by September. The project ran $800,000 over budget in 2022-23.
TAFE: Extra TAFE courses should become available in Murray Bridge as the result of a $10.2 million Regional Skills Development Fund, of which nearly $1.5 million will be spent in regional SA over the next four years.
Health: Virtual health care services will be expanded across the state, which should ideally prevent some patients from having to seek care in emergency departments. Other new measures will focus on relieving the pressure on metropolitan hospitals.
Indigenous affairs: Funds have been set aside to get South Australia’s First Nations Voice to Parliament up and running later this year.
Horse racing: The racing industry will get a bigger share of a tax on betting operators, worth an extra $27.8 million over four years; it is not clear how the money will be spent.
Murray Bridge News will seek comment from Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick.
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