The South Australian government has delivered on its promise of a budget surplus but will plunge further into debt to fund hefty infrastructure spending.
Handing down the 2019/20 budget on Tuesday, Treasurer Rob Lucas said the state was in a "challenging financial position" because of decreased GST and stamp duty revenues.
Despite the assessment, the budget forecasts a surplus of $94 million for 2019/20, steadily increasing until it hits $251 million in 2022/23.
But its debt will grow too - by more than $3 billion to $9.5 billion in 2019/20, and up to $13.2 billion by 2022/23 as it borrows heavily.
Mr Lucas said the debt blowout and extra lending was necessary to fund an $11.9 billion infrastructure pipeline over the next four years and beyond.
"A number of national economic commentators have indicated that now is not the time for governments, in particular, state governments, to turn the tap off on major infrastructure programs," he said
"They believe that it is important, in a softening national economy, for governments state and federal to maintain strong economic infrastructure programs."
But the state opposition said the increase in state debt was "almost unprecedented" and "an astonishing hit to every single South Australian".
"That is going to leave South Australians facing an interest bill in excess of $1 billion per annum," opposition leader Peter Malinauskas said.
Mr Malinauskas said the budget also included $353 million of increases to fees and charges.
"Steven Marshall promised lower costs, yet ever time South Australians drive their car, catch public transport or even put out their wheelie bin, he is hitting their hip pocket," the Labor leader said.
Increased debt and rising fees were also a concern for Business SA chief executive Martin Haese, who described the budget as "restrained" and said it largely neglected the business community.
"There's very little in this budget to boost business growth and help owners and operators still struggling to pay high energy and water costs," he said.
After Mr Lucas said last year's budget was wearing "a business suit with sensible shoes", he likened this year's budget to wearing overalls and a high-vis vest.
Among the infrastructure spend was an $834 million, four-year road safety package, which includes level crossing removals and intersection upgrades.
A further $1.1 billion was designated for regional road projects and transport infrastructure improvements over the next eight years.
The state's economy will grow by just over two per cent each year between now and 2022/23 and employment growth will be flat at one per cent.
However, the government will swing the axe on more than 1500 public sector jobs - mostly back office staff - in the next year.
SA Unions secretary Angas Story hit out at the cuts and said the budget was a let-down for workers.
"In this budget, the government continues its trifecta of failures: job cuts, higher costs for struggling families and worse services for all South Australians," he said.
The budget includes a $104.5 million housing stimulus package, including a program offering low-interest first homebuyers an interest-free deposit gap loan of up to $10,000.
It also allocates $550 million to start construction on the new Women's and Children's Hospital and $150 million for a city Aboriginal art and cultures gallery.
Australian Associated Press