Where are the jobs and skills in the South Australian 2014-15 Budget?

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With the State Government committing a total of $689 million, including $402 million in capital expenditure, there are important implications for jobs and skills.

This blog post is for you if you want to understand where the jobs are and uncover the skilling opportunities across automotive transformation, infrastructure projects, innovation, food and wine, regional areas and resources.

The first area to consider has had much media coverage with the need to transform the automotive sector and create jobs.

Automotive Transformation and Jobs Plan

The South Australian State Government has allocated $60 million towards the “Our Jobs Plan” stating that this plan will revitalise and rebuild the state economy following the decision by GM Holden and Toyota to close vehicle manufacturing operations in Australia by 2017.

The Automotive Transformation Taskforce will be chaired by former Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation Greg Combet focusing on:

– Managing the design and delivery of programs and services to businesses and workers in the automotive supply chain and at Holden.

– Liaising with the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments in the final design and roll-out of the $155 million Growth Fund.

– Working with GM Holden on the future of the Elizabeth site.

– Participating in Government-wide strategies to attract investment and jobs to the State.

– Providing a central point of coordination and communication.

Spending on infrastructure is seen by state government as an important strategy to generate jobs.

Infrastructure

The 2014-15 State Budget includes $10.1 billion over four years for major capital investment projects, including transport, health, education and public housing infrastructure projects.

The key areas for infrastructure development include:

–       Education and Health Facilities

–       Public Transport and Road Projects

–       Riverbank Precinct Development

Specific examples of investment are outlined below:

–       $160 million to extend the O-Bahn

–       $152.5 million (including funding beyond the forward estimates) to electrify the Gawler rail line from the city to Salisbury.

–       $17.5 million in investing payments to redevelop and expand the neonatal unit at the Flinders Medical Centre

–       New City High School – on the existing Royal Adelaide Hospital site.

The forward estimates reflect a major investment program of $10 billion over four years that will continue to rebuild and expand the state’s strategic economic and social infrastructure and generate an average of 4,700 jobs per annum over the next four years.

Creating your own job and jobs for others, through self-employment and entrepreneurship, see’s co-working and start-ups supported.

Innovators

Although I believe the state government could go further in this areas it’s very pleasing to see some support for entrepreneurs and innovation in the State Budget including:

– $400,000 over four years for training and mentoring programs delivered by Majoran Distillery, to develop skills and provide industry contacts.

– $588,000 over four years to provide grants to entrepreneurs, to help establish city premises including activating vacant buildings, enabling them to pursue exciting new concepts and ventures.

– $2.5 million over three years (from 2013-14) matched by funding from Hills Limited to establish the Lance Hill Design Centre and Hills D-Shop as nation-leaders in innovation support.

As a particular strategy for this financial year the Jobs Accelerator Fund has job creation at its heart.

Jobs Accelerator Fund

This initiative provides a once-off $10 million in 2014-15 to support job creation in regional areas, providing a strategic and coordinated approach to give regions the opportunity to build on their competitive advantages and create an environment for jobs growth and improved social and economic infrastructure.

For a number of regions, premium food and wine is a priority industry sector.

Premium Food and Wine

Working across Australia in agriculture, food and beverage projects I can see the value of investing in this sector particularly with large operators exporting and aiming to improve efficiencies.

The 2014-15 State Budget includes more than $7.6 million to boost South Australia’s international reputation for premium food and wine from our clean environment.

The investment includes:

– $500,000 over two years to develop a trademark brand for producers and businesses to promote their region.

– $2.475 million over three years to make the Tasting Australia food festival an annual event from 2016.

– $3.2 million over four years to Food SA and the South Australian Wine Industry Association to continue its work developing food and wine industries.

– $1.5 million over four years to develop a symbol certifying top quality SA-grown produce.

Regional branding, economic development and workforce development go hand in hand.

Regional Development

Investment in regions for South Australia has gotten far more serious with:

  • $6 MILLION – AGRIBUSINESS ACCELERATOR PROGRAM to help producers and businesses expand their markets and information bases
  • $15 MILLION – REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND, ALLOCATED VIA 5 NEW PROGRAMS

–       MAJOR PROJECTS PROGRAM

–       REGIONAL FOOD INITIATIVES PROGRAM

–       SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM

–       COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

–       COUNTRY CABINET PROGRAM

  • $3 MILLION – FOR THE EIGHT REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AUSTRALIA BOARDS ACROSS SOUTH AUSTRALIA – Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island, Barossa, Far North, Limestone Coast, Metropolitan Adelaide, Murraylands and Riverland, Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, Yorke and Mid North.

Specifically the regional package includes:

• $70 million over four years to establish a Jobs Accelerator Fund to support job creation in regional areas and increase the funding available to the Regional Development Fund and Regional Development Associations to $15 million per annum and $3 million per annum respectively

• $35.5 million to be spent over the next four years for the continuation of rural road safety measures including improved signage and delineation, minor junction improvements and removal, and modification and shielding of roadside hazards and median centreline treatments

• a $7.5 million grant in 2014–15 towards the Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend

• $6 million over four years for the Agribusiness Accelerator Program

• $4 million grant in 2014-15 to upgrade the Innamincka airstrip for both the community and mining and exploration industries, and

• $6 million over four years for the Remote Areas Energy Supplies Scheme.

A number of regions have significant opportunities in the mining and resources sector.

Resources

Over $40 million over four years will see the construction of a new State Drill Core Reference Library and a Mining and Petroleum Services centre of excellence at Tonsley, expand our world renowned Plan for Accelerating Exploration scheme and defer royalties to accelerate the development of unconventional gas wells.

Other measures

Alongside resources, there other measures that have workforce planning and development implications including:

–       $2.3 million to establish an advanced manufacturing school at Seaview High School.

–       $9 million over three years to establish Green Industries SA to work with the business, government and the environmental sector to realise the full potential of the green economy, and $3 million toward Health Industries SA a body that will seek to leverage investment from the health sector on the back of our $2 billion health precinct anchored by the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the SAHMRI.

–       $13.7 million over four years for additional Family Services Coordinators and Allied Health Officers to provide for expanded services in existing children’s centres.

–       Since the 2013–14 Mid-Year Budget Review the government has decided not to proceed with cuts to Education Adelaide and has provided $900 000 per annum (indexed) from 2015–16 to allow Education Adelaide to continue operations as a destination marketing entity for international students.

–       FTEs in the general government sector are estimated to decrease by 4080 between 30 June 2014 and 30 June 2018.

What does this mean?

The Premier has called on all Ministers to reconnect with business to ensure South Australia’s business environment is as competitive and attractive as possible.

What this means is a potential framework of investment that moves closer to the model that I have been advocating with:

  1. Economic priorities – job creation, innovation and entrepreneurship, infrastructure projects like the Riverbank precinct
  2. Industry priorities – advanced manufacturing and automotive, agribusiness, civil construction, education, health, food and wine, resources
  3. Regional priorities
  4. Individual priorities – indigenous people, those who speak a language other than English at home, people with disability, people with a low socio economic status, retrenched workers (here I would like to see individual priorities related to outcomes like Australian Apprenticeships, getting a job, returning to the workforce and so on)

Written by Wendy Perry, Head Workforce Planner, Workforce BluePrint, July 2014.

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