Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) Business Luncheon

The Premier addressed the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce on the government's strong reform agenda to create jobs, drive investment, grow exports and increase South Australia's population.

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First let me acknowledge the Kaurna People as the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathered.

I pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

Paul Israel – CEO of the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Gwinnett, President of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, SA and the Northern Territory

Rilka Warbanoff, Executive Director of the Chamber

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s a great pleasure to be able to address this Chamber again.

And to meet Paul, the CEO of your Israeli counterpart.

I last spoke to you just before our State Election in March.

I discussed some of the hopes and plans we had for our State.

We’re now almost eight months in.

I’ll talk today about some of the things we have been doing since our election.

But first, let me recognise the continuing history of friendship and support between South Australia and Israel.

It’s a history to which this Chamber and its counterpart have made a significant contribution.

As active business organisations with strong membership across a broad range of business sectors.

Forging close relationships between us even though we lie on opposite sides of the globe.

As you know, over time, South Australia and Israel have shared some significant challenges.

Such as hot, dry summers for our food producers.

And lack of natural resources.

We’ve both had to be innovative.

Over the years, our people and our businesses have been responsible for some extraordinary achievements.

There is much South Australia can learn from Israel’s evolution into a global leader in innovation.

There are many shared opportunities we can continue to explore relating to South Australia’s capabilities in agricultural technologies, science and research, medical technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In this spirit of co-operation, my Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni, has just been to Israel on a visit organised by this Chamber.

He has returned full of enthusiasm about the possibilities.

But to further develop them, there’s more we need to do on our own account, here in South Australia.

That’s why my government is pursuing a strong economic reform agenda.

Our reforms come under the broad headings of

  • Population
  • Exports
  • Investment
  • Infrastructure and
  • Productivity.

On population policy, we said that we would work with the Federal

Government on migration reform.

Higher population growth is essential for South Australia.

It’s needed to achieve sustainable economic growth.

And to address skills shortages, particularly in our regions.

Accordingly, I’m working closely with the Commonwealth to identify areas for improving targeted skilled migration pathways that meet the requirements of businesses facing genuine skills gaps without crowding out the local labour market.

One example currently being explored is for the Commonwealth to grant South Australia preferential migrant status to attract more international students to the State and skilled workers to take jobs in the regions.

We have already demonstrated our capacity to work closely with the Commonwealth on these matters with an early commitment to pilot a new entrepreneurs’ visa initiative in South Australia.

Under this initiative, foreign entrepreneurs and investors with an innovative idea and a supporting business plan will be able to apply for a temporary visa to take forward their venture in Australia.

Applicants will not need capital backing, unlike the current Entrepreneur Visa which requires demonstrated funding of at least $200,000.

Instead, proposals will be vetted by State or Federal Government entities able to partner with incubators and accelerators to identify potential applicants for nomination.

Entrepreneurs who are successful in establishing their business venture in Australia will become eligible to apply for permanent residence.

I’m confident the Federal Government recognises South Australia’s desire to be a constructive participant in the continuing debate about population policy and that as a result, our State will benefit.

As well as low population growth, another legacy my Government inherited was a declining South Australian share of our nation’s exports.

This is another trend that must be reversed.

My Government is committed to creating more jobs by boosting South Australia’s international trade and strongly supporting our exporters.

As a smaller state, exports are critical for South Australian businesses to grow demand and achieve economies of scale.

This is particularly important to the success of our regions, as regional industries are highly export oriented.

And there are important ways government can assist business to open doors in new export markets.

Last month, we commissioned a review of the government’s international and interstate engagement bodies and functions.

The review is being led by Steven Joyce, one of the most senior ministers in the successful John Key-led National Government in New Zealand.

We expect a preliminary report by the end of this year, before final recommendations by next March.

In the meantime, we are delivering on our commitment to open four new trade offices in the major markets of Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and the United States, and a new business and investment hub in Shanghai.

These initiatives will deepen the State's engagement with key export destination countries and open new markets for South Australian businesses.

You will all be aware of the tremendous opportunities ahead for our State from the implementation of the Federal Government’s naval shipbuilding program.

These opportunities are not just onshore.

The unprecedented scale of investment in our future defence capabilities opens up great flow-on benefits for South Australia in export growth as well.

By getting on the front foot through global supply chain participation as well as direct exports, our defence industry can ensure it is sustainable and competitive long into the future.

The South Australian Government recently attended Euronaval in Paris and participated in a trade mission to Europe.

These events highlighted our local industry’s capabilities and encouraged companies to build international relationships and strengthen their competitiveness for upcoming supply chain contracts.

Of course, it is not just trade in goods that sustains the South Australian economy.

International education, our largest service export, now totals more than $1 billion annually.

It is an indisputable source of economic prosperity for our State with high potential for continuing growth.

To encourage this, we have increased funding to Study Adelaide to support attraction of more international students.

We are also committed to the growth of tourism in South Australia, which supports our businesses with new expenditure from outside the State.

In May, the Regional Visitor Strategy was released.

This outlines opportunities to grow South Australia's regional visitor economy by $1 billion and create 1,000 new jobs.

To back this potential, the South Australian Tourism Commission has been investing in regional infrastructure, including installing 60 Wi-Fi hotspots across the State to drive promotion of our regions through social media.

Turning now to investment attraction.

We’ll be implementing a raft of measures focused on improving the business climate.

From January 1 2019, all small businesses with payrolls of up to $1.5 million will be exempt from payroll tax.

This means an additional 3,200 businesses will no longer pay payroll tax, and another 400 businesses will receive a reduction in their payroll tax liability.

We will reform land tax by increasing the tax-free threshold and reducing the top marginal tax rate.

We have already reduced Emergency Services Levy bills by 50 per cent.

This measure is returning $90 million a year into the pockets of businesses and households.

In total during our first term, we will be introducing the biggest tax cuts for businesses in South Australia’s history.

As well as tax reform for existing businesses, we’re actively encouraging the creation of new businesses in future industries.

One way we’re doing this is to transform the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, now badged Lot 14, into a creation and innovation neighbourhood.

Our focus is the creation of high-value industries and jobs.

On Lot 14, we are leveraging the global connectivity, innovation, research strengths and human capital of our universities and other research institutions.

A single community comprising accelerator and incubator programs, start-ups, entrepreneurs, small to medium enterprises, multi-national corporations, thought leaders, venture capitalists, angel and institutional investors as well as the State’s leading researchers and students will all mix in a thriving ecosystem.  

This is our nation’s prime CBD location awaiting re-development.

It’s seven hectares in the East End of Adelaide, bordering the Botanic Gardens and a stone’s throw from some of our best cultural institutions, restaurants, bars and shopping.

On this great site we want to give South Australians with imagination and initiative the opportunity to bring their ideas to market and build businesses that can go global without the need to leave their home state.

They shouldn’t have to embark on their career journey alone.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs are our creative problem solvers who generate jobs and wealth for our economy along the way.

Eventually, more than 5000 people will be a part of the community at Lot 14, leveraging deep technology and our industry clusters to drive jobs of the future.

Jobs in:

  • Defence and Space technologies
  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics
  • Cyber Security
  • Media and the Creative Industries.


As one example of government support for these new industry opportunities, in the defence sector we are creating a one-stop-shop for international companies who are looking to establish in South Australia.

This Defence Landing Pad at Lot Fourteen will provide a home for global companies to develop their Australian business strategy and plan local operations.

The Defence Landing Pad will assist international companies establish a presence in South Australia, build relationships with South Australian businesses and create opportunities for supply chain collaboration.

As the national centre of naval shipbuilding and submarine sustainment, South Australia has the framework to establish a world-class maritime industry base and develop close ties with international partners.

I’m incredibly proud of the Defence Landing Pad initiative, as we launch a new way in which South Australia is fostering collaboration and creating business opportunities.

I’ve also been lobbying the Federal Government very hard to establish the National Space Agency in South Australia.

To support our advocacy, we’ve highlighted what we are doing at Lot 14 to bring together businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and explore new technologies across fast growing industries like the space sector.

I’ve outlined some of the initiatives we are taking to encourage population and export growth and to attract new investment.

Our efforts however, won’t achieve full success unless South Australia has well-planned and adequate infrastructure to cope with the medium and long-term needs of businesses and people.

The recent State Budget announced a total infrastructure spend of $11.3 billion over four years.

In this financial year alone, our total investing program will be $3.15 billion - $576 million more than last year.

We're also investing significantly in education facilities, water infrastructure, public transport and health.

And we are committed to develop a master plan for Globelink, a network of infrastructure to improve access to export markets.

A responsible government must ensure that public investment in infrastructure is properly aligned to support good economic outcomes for the state, in particular the growth of industry.

This is why we are establishing Infrastructure SA (or ISA) as a statutory body that will provide independent and transparent advice about infrastructure spending.

Infrastructure South Australia will be an independent body that will combine the expertise of the private and public sectors to develop a 20-year state infrastructure strategy and 5-year infrastructure plans.

A board of directors is being established, comprising public and private sector representatives. Mr Tony Shepherd will commence as Chairman in late November. 

Tony has had an extensive career in the public and private sectors, including as Chairman of the WestConnex Delivery Authority in Sydney, overseeing one of Australia’s largest ever transport projects.

Of course, infrastructure provision is not the sole province of the state government.

Significant railways, roads, ports, hospitals, schools and utilities are owned and operated by other tiers of government or the private sector. 

A 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy will need to reflect a Whole of State perspective rather than just that of the State Government as an infrastructure provider.

Stakeholder engagement will be critical to ensuring that the Strategy is evidence-based and developed with all levels of government, industry and community input. 

As with infrastructure, regulations and reforms also need to be strategically developed to reduce unnecessary burdens and encourage long term sustained economic growth.

This is why we have also established the South Australian Productivity Commission.

This Commission is chaired by Dr Matthew Butlin, who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role.

Matthew has had a lengthy career consulting and advising on red tape reduction and regulatory reform across the private and public sectors, including experience with the national Productivity Commission and the former Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission.

I am confident he will help us identify and reduce unnecessary regulations that stifle business and create economic inefficiencies.

His first task is to look at government procurement.

The government spends around $5 billion per annum on goods and services.

We have heard the message from small business that procurement processes are too costly and labour intensive and we have asked for recommendations about what needs to change.


To summarise, there is a lot to be excited about in the future for businesses in SA.

And my government will help make that future a reality by continuing to deliver on our promises.

We took a strong plan for real change to the election in March.

We are determined to be a reformist government that delivers.

We are focused on key policies that will significantly influence our economic future:

  • Population growth
  • Export growth
  • Investment attraction
  • Productive infrastructure
  • Productivity improvement

I thank all the businesses here today that have helped to build our  State into what it is today.

There is a new mood of optimism.

Business confidence is growing.

There is more to be done.

South Australia faces economic challenges.

But they can be met.

By government and business working together.

Thank you.

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