01 December 2021
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I rise to speak on the important choice that South Australian voters will face in the new year. Voters, of course, face two choices, not just a decision about who should form government in the House of Assembly but also a decision around the make-up of this chamber and who should hold the balance of power in this place.
The Greens have a bold and ambitious plan to transform South Australia for the better, and if we increase our numbers in the Legislative Council, if we hold the balance of power in our own right, we will be doing what we can to ensure that we deal with the climate crisis and growing inequality in our state.
By making developers, mining corporations and big banks pay their fair share of tax, we can finally tackle the climate crisis and economic inequality in South Australia and create a better life for all South Australians. We know that COVID-19 has exposed growing inequality in South Australia. How can it be that we have people literally sleeping on the streets of our state while big banks, mining corporations and developers continue to make huge profits? Something has to change, and the Greens have announced a fully costed plan to change things for the better.
The first element of that is a range of new revenue measures. We would propose to raise almost $7 billion of new revenue that we could invest in vital public services. We need to start charging fair royalties for mining corporations. South Australia has been robbed of its mineral wealth over the last few years. In fact, over the last four years, mining corporations have made over $25 billion in South Australia alone and paid only 5 per cent in royalties. That is not fair. That is why the Greens want to increase the royalties paid by these corporations. That would raise an extra $3.8 billion over four years.
We also need to take the big banks to task. They are some of the most profitable in the world, and over the last four years the five biggest banks have made $173 billion in pre-tax profits. That is a huge amount of money. It is for that reason that the Greens want to bring back the state-based big bank levy. That is a rate that is set and 0.5 per cent per quarter and would apply to South Australia's share of a bank's total liabilities. It would be passed on to the five big banks.
Finally, we want to propose a 75 per cent developer tax on rezoning. At the moment, when land is rezoned for a higher use, property developers make massive windfall profits, but they do not pay anything for the privilege. This is a massive giveaway of public wealth into private hands. We are concerned that this current system encourages corruption and backroom deals. It makes property speculation worse, and it pushes up prices, so we would bring in a developer tax that would raise $1.7 billion over four years.
What would we do with the money that is raised from these new measures? We would provide free, publicly owned public transport for South Australians at a cost of $433 million over four years and would invest $1 billion to upgrade South Australia's public transport network. We would bring back the Housing Trust, building 40,000 new, quality public homes over four years, or 10,000 homes a year. That would slash the public housing waiting list. In doing so, we would create 10,000 good construction jobs a year.
We would also provide for publicly owned renewable electricity. We would bring back ETSA, and we would invest $8.7 billion over four years for publicly owned renewable energy and storage. This plan would create more than 9,000 jobs a year. We would also set aside $2 billion of the investment to provide free solar and storage for 200,000 renters, social housing and low income households. These are important measures. They are things that we could do if we ensure that the big end of town finally pays their fair share, and the Greens are committed to doing that here in this place.