Collaboration powerful driver of economic growth and innovation: NSW Premier

We must continue to champion collaboration between government, business and the community, NSW Premier the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian has told a CEDA audience.

Speaking at the State of the State in Sydney, Ms Berejiklian said “I believe this collaboration is the most powerful driver of economic growth and innovation, and we can’t do anything alone.

“At a time unfortunately when anti-business sentiment is rising and the calls for big overbearing government are growing, NSW shows a different way forward.

“We have a model here where business is able to invest and create the opportunities that change lives, while meeting their social responsibilities for stronger communities.

“We know that when government and industry work together, we create a platform for the talent in our communities to excel not just here in NSW and Australia but also globally.

“That is why we have consistently cut taxes and red tape since 2011, most recently by lifting the payroll tax threshold in last month’s budget.

“I know that the measure of strong financial management is not just how fast our economy grows but it’s also ensuring the opportunities that this success brings to our citizens to make sure it’s shared across the length and breadth of the state.

“I regard myself as somewhat of an economic rationalist, but I also regard myself as somebody who appreciates that a government can’t just be competent but compassionate. 

“Sometimes you have to invest in projects which won’t have a strong economic return but will have a strong social return and that’s why governments are here because you need to provide equality of opportunity for everybody. 

“Investing in a park for a community which means kids can have an active lifestyle, people feel happier about the environment they live in, is just as important to me as having a return on an investment. 

“It’s not just about the secure job. The secure job is the first step in allowing people to meet their potential, but it’s also the liveability factor to make sure governments invest the economic returns in the best way to make communities feel safer, happier, stronger.

“With government, business and community working together, NSW is perfectly placed to own the fast-growing industries and the best jobs of the future which are spread across every part of our state.

“Since last year’s State of the State, NSW has created over 150,000 new jobs and to put that in perspective that’s about half what the nation has created but also more than Victoria and Queensland combined. 

“Of more than half a million of jobs created since 2011…more than 60 per cent are full time – that’s way higher than the national average which sits around 40-45 per cent. 

“Two hundred thousand of these jobs are being created in Western Sydney and almost 100,000 of these jobs have been created in regional NSW.

“The total number of jobs exceeded four million…in NSW for the first time and the NSW workforce participation rate is at a new record of 65 per cent. 

“This is just not having an economic impact but a profound social impact.

“Women account for 60 per cent of all the new jobs across the state and interestingly, and this is really important, employment for the over 55s is growing faster than any other group of people.

“NSW also has by far the lowest unemployment rate for young people in Australia and we’re seeing the opportunities for indigenous Australians, with a 40 per cent increase in indigenous jobs in the last five years alone.

“The most powerful thing we can do for people as a Government is make sure this remarkable pipeline of jobs continues…not just creating these jobs but sustaining these jobs.

“With an eye on what the future may hold, our government has not just built surpluses and cut debt, we’ve also reshaped our balance sheet.

“We’ve grown our funds under management to $90 billion…and we have established a new sovereign wealth fund called The Generations Fund. 

“Strong economic management is not optional, it is our contract with the community.”

Ms Berejiklian also discussed the infrastructure projects which are contributing to the workforce and economy.

“Within the next 18 months, two years, we will hit a tipping point with our infrastructure program as a wave of major projects reach completion,” she said.

“We’re starting work already on the next generation of transformative projects because the pipeline is so significant and important to continue this high level of business confidence and investment in NSW. 

“We will continue to support those skills, those trades that are in high demand at the moment. 

“When you have a record infrastructure pipeline you rely on those trades and skills that will help you deliver that, which is why we are incredibly proud to announce our offer of 100,000 free apprenticeships over the next four years.

“That allows individuals and businesses to invest in those trades and skills which will keep our pipeline moving.”