Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Trade and Investment

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:26): Today, I rise to speak on the importance of South Australia's trade and investment opportunities and the achievement of the Marshall Liberal government. The Liberals understood the importance of the trade industry. It was one of our top priorities during our time in government and in the lead-up to the election.

As the shadow minister for trade and investment and having previously worked as a chartered accountant, I understand the importance this portfolio has on the South Australian economy. I have committed myself to continue the hard work of the former Liberal government, accomplished by holding the current government to account, as it is our legacy that sees Labor picking up a booming economy and record trade levels.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently released the trade statistics for March 2022. These figures show that, for the first time, South Australian exports have hit a record $13.7 billion. The data also shows that South Australia's trade industry has generated nearly $487 billion for our great state. These statistics are very impressive and should be celebrated. I ask: why has the government not made announcements to recognise the hard work of our wine, grain and livestock exporters, who work hard to keep South Australia growing? Why? Because this success is attributable to the investment in the trade industry by the Liberal government.

In the last financial year, South Australia's trade industry, with assistance from grants and funding from the former Liberal government, created nearly 3,500 jobs and attracted over $703 million worth of investment in our state. During our time in government, the Liberals developed a specific trade office strategy that saw new trade offices opened in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Guangzhou, New Delhi, Singapore, New York, Houston, Dubai and San Francisco.

Our government, which understood the importance of international trade and export and how critical it is to the ongoing growth and overall success of South Australia, announced and budgeted for another new office in Paris. We are yet to understand if the Labor government will even keep the new offices operational. Importantly, will they progress with the opening of the Paris office?

As I have alluded to twice already, the Liberals understand the importance of the trade and export industry. When we were in government, South Australia saw merchandise exports reaching over $13 billion for the first time ever. We created new funding initiatives and grant programs to support 141 South Australian businesses to become exporters and to enter into new markets.

Our government also introduced the $5.4 million Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program, which was created to help South Australian wineries by providing the tools and connections to target international markets. It has recently been reported that wine export figures have reduced in South Australia. Unfortunately, the Premier has only committed to 'turn his mind to' what can be done to improve this going forward. What this means for our wine industry and exporters is yet to be confirmed. There is no plan or commitment from the government to help reassure and support this critical industry.

Further to this, there were no trade policies in any of Labor's election commitments. What does this say about Labor's commitment to the industry as a whole? Are they expecting to ride on the coat-tails of Liberal successes?

In closing, I think it is critically important that we thank the hugely important exporters in our state. To the grains, livestock, horticulture, wine, seafood, forests and dairy sectors: you are major contributors to our state's economy and continuous growth. Thank you for what you do for our great state.