Budgets beloved of tight-fisted Treasurers who believe that the AAA credit rating must be preserved at all costs backed by a government that believes the Premier needs to be able to open a new hospital several years down the track and that Australia is going to host the World Cup for soccer in about 2020 and that we need new oval facilities for this.
Now, we have a hospital. It is older than some people would like and, according to them, there are problems with it. I am also aware that it is newer than many European hospitals which have been successfully upgraded and extended but, being Australians, we must have nothing but the best - and that is a new hospital on a contaminated site overlooking railway yards. This will provide employment in the short term and ensure another term in government - or that is apparently the thinking. The cost has already blown out and nothing has happened apart from some clearing of the proposed site. The same is true of the oval redevelopment - although I am not sure if work has started at all there. There is also the small matter of a desalination plant - and the fact that we do not harvest storm water but let that run out to sea. A desalination plant however can be opened by the Premier and be seen. Harvesting storm water is not such a visible project.
In order to pay for all this and other projects that will make the government look as if it is doing great things there will have to be tax rises and service cuts. There has even been a suggestion that children who use rural school bus services to attend school may be charged. They can probably get away with this because there is no requirement to attend school in South Australia if you can prove that suitable home-schooling is taking place.
Until two days ago they may have been able to get away with closing some police stations but the murder of a woman who called for assistance and did not get any may make that more difficult - or will it? They will probably keep saying "procedural error".
Closing country hospitals, the Repatriation General hospital, the emergency department of another, and schools of less than one hundred children are also on the table for consideration.
Someone leaked the report of the razor gang put in place to find $1bn worth of cuts. The police have been called in along with a forensic expert to try and find out who did this. I rather hope they do not find the leaker. I think it is time for a heated community debate. We need to get some priorities right. Let's forget a new hospital and see if we can do something with the old one.
Let's forget the upgrade of one oval for an event that will almost certainly never happen here. That way there might be money for something that really could make a difference - let's turn one of those TAFE colleges they want to close into an arts and crafts school for everyone not just would-be art students who create "installations" nobody understands. It would be good for mental health, employing the unemployed, encouraging tourists to come and buy quality handmade items, it would preserve skills. Let's teach carpentry, woodturning, woodcarving, basketry, spinning, weaving, metalwork, knitting, crochet, embroidery, musical instrument making, shoe making, sewing, jewellery making and any other skill that looks likely to be lost.
Yes, it would cost a little - to start with. I think it would end up paying for itself - and the Premier could open it.