Making it easy

18 Jun 2021

There are great opportunities in a state that’s reaching out to the nation says Chief Executive of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Nick Reade.

A real sense of optimism and momentum is building in South Australia. It’s one of the reasons I was interested in joining to lead the public sector to play our role in growing our state, improving our resilience and ensuring that all South Australians can thrive. But we can do more to fulfil our economic potential and attract more new skills and talent to our great state.

Since becoming the Chief Executive of South Australia’s Department of the Premier and Cabinet in February, I’ve led the development of a new strategic plan for the public sector which focuses on building the economy, ensuring the whole state thrives, and making the state government “easy to do business with” for all its customers.

I can say with certainty that South Australia is now well and truly open for business and investment. This is underpinned by the state government’s plan for prosperity — our Growth State Strategy. It provides a clear vision and framework to develop and maintain momentum in economic reform and connect the policies, programs and actions across the government to build a stronger, brighter future for South Australia.

The government is working with the state’s top and future industries to achieve up to three per cent annual growth — a big leap on recent trajectories. Nine priority sectors: defence, space, hi-tech, international education, creative, tourism, energy and mining, health and medical, and food, wine and agribusiness, have been identified as crucial, as they can meet increasing interstate and global demand while also attracting investors.

There are many examples of outstanding projects occurring under the umbrella of these sectors, such as our state continuing to be at the forefront of the nation’s defence industries. South Australia is delivering some of the nation’s largest and most complex defence projects, ensuring we can continue to build on our reputation for innovation, world-class research and development, and a highly skilled workforce.

I am proud that the defence sector in South Australia is moving to create more than 4000 direct ship building jobs, with thousands more expected to flow into related industries by 2030.

When it comes to the energy sector, South Australia recently launched a world-leading $240 million hydrogen project as part of its efforts to develop a green hydrogen export industry. This project will be the world’s biggest green ammonia plant — 60 times larger than Australia’s largest electrolyser at Tonsley in Adelaide.

In the hi-tech industry, an average six per cent growth each year is the target, which would see the gross value add for the industry increase to $365 million by 2030.

Our global precinct in the heart of Adelaide focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, culture, and tourism — Lot Fourteen — is an integral part of South Australia’s innovation network. Lot Fourteen brings together research, education, industry and government to provide choices for businesses to establish and grow in SA.

Australia’s Space Agency opened in Adelaide in February this year while MIT, Google, Amazon Web Services and Accenture, have recently expanded into South Australia. This exciting precinct is also home to the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre, which houses the only Cyber Test Range facility outside of Canberra.

South Australia certainly is building a dynamic economy underpinned by entrepreneurship and innovation. To do this, we are committed to increasing our rate of population growth to at least the national average.

We’ve had some promising success already: before Covid, South Australia’s population growth reached the highest level in five years and the beginning of 2021 saw SA’s universities having both more interstate applications than ever, and more local applications than ever.

I am also focusing on how the state government supports the small business economy in South Australia, and how we can ensure we are making it easy to work with us. As 98 per cent of all businesses here fit into this category, our support is imperative to helping them start, prosper and expand.

South Australia truly has so many incredible opportunities to grow. The challenge is not our lack of potential for greatness, but how we go about carefully prioritising our investments, partnering smartly with industry, executing soundly, and delivering on the imperative of meeting that potential. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure this happens. The public sector will make a difference so South Australia thrives.

Sourced from: ‘The Deal’ The Australian, 17 June 2021