It has been a good year for South Australia and the wins are still coming in.
Last week’s revelations of a planned economic revival in Whyalla, under industrialist Sanjeev Gupta’s vision, is welcome news for the whole state.
The strong accord between the state and federal governments has also delivered a great outcome in terms of Adelaide being home to the Australian Space Agency as the centrepiece of the tripartite “City Deal”, including the City of Adelaide in a shared vision around Lot Fourteen.
The deal is designed to drive a globally-relevant centre of innovation and house start-ups alongside a National Gallery for Aboriginal Art and Culture.
Many employers have been breathing a sigh of relief since the Marshall Government announced it would lower payroll tax thresholds for SMEs. This means fewer employers will be penalised for increasing turnover and creating more jobs.
The Federal Government will bring forward tax cuts to SMEs with a turnover of less than $50 million to 2021-22, five years ahead of schedule.
Our four-year Charter for a More Prosperous South Australia sets an economic reform blueprint for the state and we are pleased to see many recommendations being supported by the Marshall Government.
We welcomed State Budget plans to improve regional infrastructure to make doing business in the country easier.
Business confidence is rising to levels not seen for more than a decade, with the Business SA -William Buck Survey of Business Expectations showing owners and operators are optimistic about their future.
In September, we released the most comprehensive survey of regional business views conducted in SA – the biannual Regional Voice Survey – showing our country counterparts are anxious about high electricity costs, population growth and access to skilled labour. They also need the lower company and payroll taxes.
We released an independent report showing 75 per cent of consumers wanted to see changes to shop trading hours. If people can shop when they want in regional towns and cities, why can’t they in Adelaide?
While the Government has strongly supported our stance, which primarily gives retailers a choice to open when they want and does not force them to open earlier on Sundays, we are disappointed the Opposition and minor parties have refused to acknowledge the public’s clear preferences.
Methamphetamine use in the workplace is on the rise, and we raised awareness by releasing the Ice at Work discussion paper, offering businesses help to combat the scourge.
We farewelled our highly respected and long-serving former chairman, Vincent Tremaine, and welcomed new chairwoman Nikki Govan, who brings a deep understanding of small business, regional issues and entrepreneurship.
Business SA looks forward to the stewardship of Nikki and a new chief executive from July next year as I transition into my next chapter.
Finally, it’s time to slow down and take a well-earned break, if you can.
We wish everyone a happy New Year and urge you to remember those less fortunate. Please give where you can.
Nigel McBride is chief executive of Business SA.
This article was originally published in the South Australian Business Journal in The Advertiser on Tuesday 19 December 2018.
Image: Artist Impression. Old Royal Adelaide Hospital redevelopment sight.