Infrastructure and jobs over AAA credit rating

If faced with a choice between SA’s AAA credit rating or key infrastructure, incoming South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, said he will choose infrastructure, a CEDA audience has heard.

If faced with a choice between SA's AAA credit rating or key infrastructure, incoming South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, said he will choose infrastructure, a CEDA audience has heard.

The Premier outlined his vision for the State at a CEDA event in Adelaide.

"The effects of the decisions that we make on our spending and investments can be felt for generations," he said.

"Over the next four years, we are investing $3.6 billion in infrastructure that will support our industries, businesses and communities.

"And we also understand that we will be making these investments within a constrained budget environment.

"It is more likely than not that we will be faced with a choice between retaining our AAA credit rating or investing in our future."

"We would prefer that this wasn't our choice.... (but) if we are faced with this choice we will not sacrifice the key infrastructure projects that will secure South Australian jobs now and in the future

"There is no doubt that a resources boom will make a huge contribution to our future economy.


"But we cannot rely on one project - or even one sector - for our future."

Mr Weatherill warned that we must look past the excitement of the mining prospects and look at the important part traditional industries play in the South Australian economy, like agriculture and manufacturing.

Additionally Mr Weatherill said that SA needed to invest in the potential of its people, especially students, because "education is the engine that drives mobility".

"Over the next four years, it's estimated that we will need around 160,000 new workers to replace people retiring, and to meet the demand of a growing economy," he said.

"We have invested an extra $194 million in Skills for All to create an additional 100,000 training places for South Australians.

"But if we want our children to decide that South Australia if the best place for their future, it will take more than the promise of a decent job.

"It will be because it is a great place to live -energetic, lively, welcoming and forward thinking."

Mr Weatherill said he is conscious of the lack of housing affordability for young people and that "there's no point in having a great city if people can't afford to live here".

"What I am determined will happen - is that we will act now to identify opportunities for urban renewal - and then create real communities - with great urban design," he said.

"And we are now creating an urban renewal authority to do just this."

Panel members at the CEDA included Flinders University, Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, Penrice, Managing Director and CEO, Guy Roberts and Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) Board Member, Liz Perry.

Mr Barber reiterated Mr Weatherill's comments on the importance of skills and education in building a strong workforce.

He said that at the core of what we need to build a prosperous and attractive State, as outlined by the Premier, is that everybody in South Australia today, needs to have a future in which their skills will be greater than those of our current generation.

"We need a very seamless education and training system," he said.

Mr Roberts explored the topic of innovation.

He told the audience that we must "think and act differently", especially in today's volatile economic environment.

He also spoke of the importance of the triple bottom line and gave an example from Penrice: innovation regarding water usage. Penrice was the second largest water user in SA, and they still have the largest desalination plant in SA. They are now desalinating bore water which has meant 90 per cent of the water previously used by Penrice, has been returned.

Ms Perry, spoke of the ageing population and the RAA's vision and changes required within the community particularly around mobility and transport. These changes included increasing capacity of community bus services for older residents, physically separated bicycle lanes in traffic and a greater understanding of road sharing and safety.

She said RAA member research revealed that after the age of 65, transport options rates as one of the top three concerns for residents.

"We also see that by 2050, the 30 year plan for greater Adelaide will have been implemented as well as a new and comprehensive transport plan, which will be launched after meaningful consultation," she said.

"That will enable a complementary network of roads, to allow the population to travel around and to also provide for comprehensive packaging of state-wide maintenance programs."

For event audio click here.
For a copy of the Premier's speech click here.