Government | Regulation

State of the Nation: Creating our own future - South Australia Premier, the Hon. Jay Weatherill

Under the theme, old economy, new economy, South Australia Premier, the Hon. Jay Weatherill, joined State of the Nation 2015 conference to explain how SA is embracing change to increase growth opportunities for the State.

“There is an enormous sense of uncertainty of our future, people are wondering where the next jobs will come from for themselves, for their families and their kids. And nobody has been able to supply a very persuasive answer to that question,” the Premier said.
“We must understand these future effects and the role they’re playing on our economy.

“One particular influence that is playing out at the moment is climate change.

“The economy is in transition…what we have is traditional industries declining… (but) we are also seeing extraordinary, exciting and positive change,” he said.

The Premier said that while traditional industries such as resource companies pulled out of SA such as the announced closure of Alinta Energy power stations and the associated coal mine, new business ventures including Sundrops Farm which uses desalination technology to warm greenhouses as well as plans for a solar thermal plant were bringing hundreds of jobs to the State.

“As we have this extraordinary distraction, we have this incredible creation, all in the same place and really about the same issue; climate change,” he said. 

“We believe applying ourselves creatively to the challenges that meet us and actually coming up with a plan to meet them and taking the risks necessary to meet them, is the way in which we will conquer these changes.

“In the area of climate change we have seen the opportunity to be a first mover and as a consequence we’ve played host to a huge increase in clean tech industries.

“Renewables now account for 39 per cent of our electricity generation which is way ahead of the original target we set of 20 per cent. We now have the highest rate of solar penetration per capita of any country in the world and we have the second highest rate of wind farm penetration per capita than any country in the world.

“Our next step is to make Adelaide a carbon neutral city.

“Put simply an Adelaide green zone…will allow us to present this attractive proposition not just to Australia but to the world and that proposition is, if you set up in Adelaide you will have the lowest carbon footprint of anywhere in the world.

“Perhaps most importantly it will project an image of our State, of being not only a state that has an ethical goal at its heart, but also the ambition to achieve it through the technological change and the businesses that will develop those technological changes.

“That’s the way we’re confronting change, we’re meeting it head on and seizing it as an opportunity.

“We’re not waiting for the world, we know the world doesn’t owe us a living…we don’t think we can rely upon others, we are trying to create our own future, that’s why we’re making the changes that we’re making.”