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Health spending boost as SA budget slides into the red

South Australia's finances have taken a hit but the government has pressed on with extra health spending ahead of Thursday's state budget.



The South Australian government has rolled out more budget spending on health despite a significant deterioration in the state's finances during the past six months.


Thursday's financial blueprint will reveal a plunge into the red of $249 million for 2022/23 after the government predicted a $203m surplus in the December mid-year budget review.


The reversal of fortune follows increased spending on health, the impact of summer's flooding down the Murray and lower-than-expected GST returns.


Treasurer Stephen Mullighan says he still expects a budget surplus in 2023/24 with the details to be outlined with the release of the budget papers.


He says the government will continue to focus on health spending as well as helping combat the housing crisis and relieve cost-of-living pressures.


The treasurer has also pledged to honour Labor's promise of no new or increased taxes.


"The last thing we want to see is what Victoria has done and that is embark on really significant increases in expenditure and then eight years later realise they've got to start rapidly increasing the tax burden on their community," Mr Mullighan said.


In Wednesday's budget announcement, the government said it would invest a further $130m into virtual health care to help free-up more hospital beds.


Two existing programs will be expanded to further provide alternative ways people can access health care away from emergency departments.


The children's virtual care service has already helped more than 24,000 patients and an adult service about 18,000 people since they began operating in 2021.


Health Minister Chris Picton said the services took pressure off emergency departments and the hospital system.

"They help patients avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency department which is a key factor in our efforts to reduce overcrowding at our major hospitals," he said.


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