Make SA best place to run a business

Opinion Piece


20 December 2013

Adelaide Advertiser

South Australia is at the crossroads. The long-awaited and expected decision of the global car making giant GM to close its Australian assembly plants has shone a light on just how moribund the South Australian economy has become.

While the State Labor Government, after 12 years in power, is unsurprisingly carrying on like a hysterical toddler and using the opportunity to make base politics months out from an election, it surprises me that other players in this debate continue to argue for a bygone era of handouts rather than debating ways to lift us out of our current malaise.

If the approach of taxpayer subsidised businesses is so successful, why is it that the northern suburbs of Adelaide already have some of the highest unemployment levels in Australia? Dare I suggest it might be time to try something new? I actually believe in South Australia and our people. I want my three children, when they leave school, to live and work here, not flee east or west to greener economic pastures.

What the Prime Minister has announced and what the Federal Government will pursue, is a reform agenda to try and achieve just that. After billions of dollars of subsidy, South Australians are rightly cynical at simplistic claims by governments that one big ticket project or another is a quick fix or that an assistance package from Canberra can wipe away all the years of inertia. The fact is that the policies that have got us into this mess are unsurprisingly not going to get us out of it. If we haven't worked it out by now, no government has ever taxed and regulated its people to prosperity.

The fact is that SA is overtaxed and over-regulated. Big government is stomping on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. We are not backing our abilities rather, too many are awaiting the benevolence of Canberra to lift us up.

The message may not be popular but we must begin to help ourselves because the world is a big, competitive place and the weakest are getting left behind.

We believe we can do much better by arming our people with the tools required to compete in the modern world.

To help set us on that path the Australian Government will build much-needed infrastructure and remove unnecessary taxes and regulations that are holding us all back. Our initial response to the GM announcement earlier this week is the beginning and not the end.

But the state must do more, and surely it's time for that debate, rather than another round of self-pity, finger pointing and begging bowl politics.