We have a new Government in South Australia. Congratulations. So, what can we expect from here on? After 16 years of propaganda and secrecy, I think most South Australians would like to advise the new Government that they have just 4 years to make decisions that are in the best interests of all South Australians. “Put aside your political aspirations and be prepared to make the hard decisions that, if done well, will make you all perpetual politicians. To assist you with the political challenges, here are 3 “Messiahs” who are already up and running”.
The first we have already talked about in the personage of Sanjeev Gupta who has committed to revitalising Whyalla specifically and the Iron Triangle more broadly. He may have bought a steelworks but he has also invested in solar energy and has committed to setting up a battery storage facility to support his important enterprise but also those within the region.
The next is Dr Sam Shahin of “On The Run” fame. Dr Sam has invested a massive $110m into developing a motorsport facility at Tailem Bend. Given time and certainly within the term of this Government, “The Bend” will become known as the best racetrack in Australia and certainly good enough, and close enough, to be able to take over the running of the annual Adelaide 500 Supercar Race. That will relieve the Government of the stupidity of assembling a grandstand annually at a cost of many millions. The Adelaide 500 is sponsor-less and probably within a few years of being relocated anyway.
And the third is Darren Thomas of Thomas International Foods. Out of the ashes at Murray Bridge with the recent fire at his meatworks, will rise a new facility on a green-field site nearby that will be the best in the world. Darren will not leave a stone unturned in reinstating the facility that has been the lifeblood of the Murray Bridge region. An investment approximating $400m will ensure that the facility has decades of life and a capacity to become one of the major exporters out of South Australia.
All of these 3 “Messiahs” have vision, capacity and commitment but more importantly they have the ambition to do it in South Australia for the benefit of all South Australians.
Looking further afield in the regional centres, we can be encouraged that the Riverland area is being supported once again by a rebirth of the wine industry, particularly exports into China. Add to that the nearby Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas and you have a fabulous growth sector in our economy that represents 60% of Australia’s wine exports. At Port Lincoln, we have the seafood capital of Australia, again exploiting huge growth in the export market for seafood into Asia.
Three sectors that are either booming or about to include Tourism, Education and Mining. Our world class Convention Centre is ready for business. Our education numbers are at record highs with more scope for growth. Our mining industry is about to get a major leg-up with the upgrade of Olympic Dam underway and the opening of the Carrapateena Mine nearby. By 2020, South Australia will be the largest copper producer in Australia which is more than double our current rate. Royalties aplenty.
It is getting easier to get excited about the future prospects in South Australia. It’s been a grind and we have had our knockers but we are on the cusp of a major new era that will create benefits and opportunities for us all. To all of the above, we can add the $95b that is going to be injected into S.A. over the next 25 years with the Submarine and Frigate contracts. It will be slow to start but it is underway and certainly by 2020 it will be full steam ahead. The Defence Sector will feed into the top end of the employment sector and in time will provide attractive job opportunities for the many young South Australians who have justifiably left this State for better opportunities afar. We experienced the influence of the submarine contract and the mining boom in the 1990s and what we are going to experience in the next 20 years is going to be exponentially bigger and better.
And so to my daughters Georgina in New York and Lottie in London, I say simply “watch this space”. And please come home soon.