I read a great article in the Sunday Mail on the 15th December 2013 called SA – the Handout State from Nick Cater. It was an extremely insightful article around South Australia’s handout culture but he particularly focussed on the South Australian public sector. It was extremely sobering reading for anyone who owns a business in this State or works in the private sector. Let me outline some key paragraphs from the article that relate to our state government public sector since the current Labor government came to power over eleven years:
- The size of the state public sector has grown by 30 per cent since Labor came to power;
- For the first time since World War II, there are now more state public servants in SA than people who actually make things;
- When Labor came to power there were 67,000 state public servants and 98,000 in manufacturing;
- By 2012, there were 87,000 public servants and 75,000 job manufacturing – a net gain of 20,000 bureaucrats;
- Functionaries do not come cheap. The average public service salary is $82,000; in manufacturing it is $60,000;
- It is a remarkable feat. Public service salaries now soak up 47 per cent of the state’s budget, the highest spend of any state; and
- Someone, somewhere, has to pay for this expanding and pointless bureaucracy, and as always it is the private sector – which makes the money – that carries the burden for the public sector which is only able to distribute it.”
I could not agree any more with the sentiments expressed above. It is an absolute disgrace to have had this growth in the state public service at the same time we have had significant technology advancements, real challenges with growth in this state and businesses really struggling to make ends meet. Yet, we have a public service that grows with no constraints and has no idea how hard it is to make money, employ people and then provide this back in excessive taxes to fund an over bloated public service where the value is very hard to see.
I wish to state I would be saying the same things if we had a Liberal government that had the same track record. Some tough decisions need to be made urgently by either party come the State election in March 2014. This is not sustainable, business will not continue to pay for this excess and we are in a very dangerous position as a state in terms of being long term sustainable. I am not sure where the revenue in the future is going to come from but any person who has run their own business will know that you cannot continue to live off credit when running a business. Our state government needs to heed this message before it is too late because I can only speak for myself in saying that I will not be paying more tax if I can help it to fund a public service that demonstrates little value for money.