ASEAN countries make up our largest export market, they are our third largest source of international students and are important investors in our State. The Premier was honoured to host Heads of Mission and senior diplomats representing all ten ASEAN Member-States, as well as distinguished business, cultural, education and government leaders of the Australia – ASEAN Council Board.
- Your Excellencies and other diplomatic representatives;
- Parliamentary colleagues;
- Members of the Australia-ASEAN Council Board
- Federal and South Australian government agency representatives;
I acknowledge that we are gathered this evening on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people, and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.
I also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the Kaurna people today.
Good evening, and welcome to the Art Gallery of South Australia. It’s an honour and a pleasure to host Heads of Mission and senior diplomats representing all ten ASEAN Member-States.
I also welcome the distinguished business, cultural, education and government leaders of the Australia – ASEAN Council Board.
I am particularly pleased to be able to meet you all at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Our Gallery is home to Australia’s second largest State art collection. The collection comprises over 38,000 works, including a significant Asian collection focusing on pre-modern Asian art.
Our Galley also has Australia’s only permanent display of Islamic art.
Cultural ties, OzAsia, importance of ASEAN to our economy
Tonight’s venue is therefore a fitting one. Our cultural connections strengthen the ties between us. And that’s not in the least due to the major impact of the OzAsia Festival, Australia’s largest arts festival engaging with Asia, to be held in Adelaide in the spring. OzAsia offers major opportunities for artists from across Australia and South East Asia to play their part in linking our people and communities, building greater understanding between us.
The festival also provides our artists with an exciting platform to grow their careers and perform in the Australian market, while bringing vibrancy, diversity and economic activity to the City of Adelaide.
I would be delighted to host our visitors again at this year’s OzAsia festival. It is of course no coincidence that Adelaide’s largest multicultural arts festival focuses on Asia.
Because South East Asia is of major importance to our State, economically as well as socially and culturally.
As I’m sure you will have heard, combined, ASEAN countries are:
- our largest export market;
- our third largest source of international students
- increasingly important investors in our State
In summary, countries of ASEAN are invaluable partners and friends to us. The ties between us are underpinned by remarkably strong people-to-people, cultural and two-way visitor linkages.
From education to innovation
Beyond cultural engagement, education is a major force for change, growth and collaboration between us. International education is now one of the strongest of our linkages.
Over 5,000 students from ASEAN countries are studying here while increasingly, students from South Australia are studying elsewhere in the region. This a powerful tool for us to create a bright future for our youth together, and to contribute to a prosperous and harmonious Asia-Pacific region.
I am aware that during the program for your visit, you are discussing education as well as some of our other key industries and the opportunities they provide for further mutually beneficial co-operation and development. So I will try to build on this by outlining the key measures my Government is putting in place to put innovation at the heart of that agenda.
We’re developing and rolling out specialised entrepreneurial education, starting at high school level and enhancing this from universities through to incubators and accelerators for start-ups and entrepreneurs of all ages.
And we are actively reaching out to you to connect to the wider opportunities in the region. For example, Flinders University’s New Venture Institute is one of the Asia-Pacific’s top-ranking incubators. It welcomed 26 Indonesian entrepreneurs to Adelaide for a course on start-up ecosystems and business models, in partnership with the Australian Government.
That’s just one example. We want to do much more. To make the opportunities in this ecosystem more accessible and more open to international collaboration, we have put in place a new Entrepreneurs Visa exclusive to South Australia.
It’s quicker. It’s easier. It removes the need to secure major funding before applying, and it offers extra support through our local incubation and acceleration providers. South Australia also continues to work with our Federal Government to create additional new migration pathways, as we want to attract greater numbers of skilled migrants to our State.
Defence/space to lift technology and start-up sectors; Lot 14
In South Australia, there is growing opportunity to leverage the synergies between $90 billion worth of naval ship projects, the Australian Space Agency and the rest of our vibrant defence and space sectors. Just a short walk along North Terrace from this Gallery is Lot Fourteen. Until recently, this prime urban location accommodated Adelaide’s major public hospital. Now it is a fast-growing hub of innovation, collaboration and creation right in the centre of our city.It will be a central catalyst for high-value industries and high paying job opportunities. When completed, it will include:
- A multi-sector start-up, incubation and acceleration hub, managed by a private sector party;
- The headquarters of the Australian Space Agency;
- A cluster of defence/space, artificial intelligence, cyber security and creative industry firms;
- A defence landing pad to provide a temporary space and soft landing for overseas firms seeking to explore our defence, space and cyber markets;
- GigCity Adelaide, offering nation-leading digital connectivity
- And major art, cultural, leisure and food and hospitality industry training offerings
Promoting linkages with ASEAN; export, investment, innovation
These opportunities will provide an excellent platform on which we can build greater entrepreneurial and business linkages between our regions. To further develop and promote these opportunities, we are planning to establish a regional Trade and Investment Office in Kuala Lumpur in the second half of next year. By locating a team with strong local expertise and networks in the middle of South East Asia, we will:
- Facilitate more business introductions
- Identify tangible export and investment leads and matches
- Position ourselves to be nimble, flexible and quick to capitalise on opportunities as and where they arise
- Improve our ability to provide high-quality food, resources, and services that meet the growing needs of your region’s expanding population, middle class and economies – and fuel your growth.
In a similar way to our migration initiatives, these efforts are built on strong collaboration with our Federal Government. This enables us to make a valuable contribution to, and benefit from, the robust relations our countries maintain at a national level. However, we know that while governments can create the conditions for success, it is our businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions who step up to make the real difference.
To make the investments. To create and sustain the jobs. That’s why we are focused on creating an optimal environment, conducive to business and economic success.
Creating an environment conducive to business success
We’re cutting a range of taxes and reducing costs to companies and consumers, to make South Australia the most cost-competitive mainland state. This will enable our local businesses to thrive and look beyond our borders to your markets, while also creating a more attractive environment for students, innovators, and investors. After our election less than a year ago, we’re already seeing that these policies work. ANZ Bank’s latest independent report on State economies has listed South Australia as having the standout economy among all States and Territories, achieving above trend growth and improving economic conditions. And to build on this momentum, we have been putting in place other supporting measures, including independent agencies to advise on increasing productivity and improving infrastructure planning.
We are providing record government investment in roads, schools and other infrastructure to promote economic and social growth. Additionally, following a review by The Honourable Steven Joyce, who was a senior Cabinet Minister in New Zealand’s economically successful period of government led by John Key, we are refocussing our economic growth agenda. We are concentrating all external business-facing functions in one department, the Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment. This will include:
- trade facilitation;
- investment attraction and management;
- domestic and international promotion across all key industry sectors
- and responsibility for increasing our competitiveness, business confidence and performance.
We will put renewed focus on our key growth sectors, and develop a South Australian Growth Agenda aimed at lifting our performance and economic output, to deliver an average annual growth rate of 3% - much higher than has been achieved in recent years.
Closing remarks and invitation
The fact that these efforts will be led from our externally facing department, which is ideally placed to engage with you as key regional partners, is a very deliberate decision. We know we cannot achieve any of this on our own.
That’s why we want to reach out to you and together support and encourage our businesses and institutions to seize the opportunities ahead – right across the major growth sectors we share between us. I would therefore like to encourage each and every one of you to speak to your colleagues and your business communities, talk about what we’re doing here in South Australia, and work with us to organise follow-up engagement.
If we bring along our companies and institutions to build on the partnerships we forge and the opportunities we identify during this week, we can capitalise on them to deliver mutual growth, prosperity, harmony and opportunity. Because like your countries, South Australia is open for business, and brimming with opportunity. So let’s get our business leaders, innovators, arts and thought leaders on board, and work together to take full advantage of what beckons for all of us.Thank you, and please now enjoy this evening.