One of the great things about living in Adelaide is the lifestyle. It is a wonderful city in a great State which has great produce, places and people. A pleasure to live in and be part of from a work and personal perspective.
The State Government tourism authority markets heavily the liveability of our State and Adelaide. The “wine state”, “a brilliant blend” and other marketing lines have been used heavily in encouraging people to visit our state. This makes sense from a tourism perspective as we encourage visitors to our state to grow our economy and experience what we have to offer.
What is interesting about having a great lifestyle though for those of us that choose to live in the State is that you need jobs to truly enjoy it and need businesses that are thriving. This is critical to not only be able to grow the State but also to create an environment for your children and others to have jobs post school or university that they can then create a long term lifestyle around.
This is where our State is lagging behind significantly. We have the lifestyle but our employment, business confidence and conditions for innovation and prosperity are as low at the moment as any place I have encountered on my travels in recent times. We have a current government that thinks getting heavily involved in business is the way to drive growth rather than removing red tape, getting out of the road of business and creating the environment and simplified compliance frameworks so that business thrives.
I believe there needs to be a dramatic shift in even how the government should market our state. Rather than promoting our lifestyle heavily, perhaps this should be balanced with some time, effort and marketing focussed on creating jobs, making it easy for business to do well and creating incentives for business to thrive. By doing this, we create the prosperity to enjoy the lifestyle to its optimum with our family as well as creating a state that is sustainable long term.
To put this in to context, I will relay a personal story I had with a previous boss of mine a couple of months ago over a coffee. He is a terrific and wise man who was relaying to me that he has made the decision to move to the Sunshine Coast to be closer to his two children and grandchildren. What is sad about this is that he was lamenting the fact that he loves Adelaide but his children have had to move interstate to find jobs. Given this, Paul and his wife will be following them. That one family alone is a brain drain on this state which we will feel the impact of for many years to come. I am sure you all know other families in the same predicament.
It got me thinking about my three children who I love dearly. Will they have jobs in the future in South Australia? Will Nicole and I be spending our time visiting them interstate and overseas because we have no jobs locally? I sincerely hope not but I feel this is the way that it will go without drastic change in our approach to business and employment growth.
For this to change, we must change our States readiness to be pro business. A state that is easy to do business in, a government that is business friendly, innovative and can do. This should even extend to offering incentives like the Victorian government to attract more businesses here so that we look to increase the amount of head offices we have in this state, new businesses, new industries and more creative people. An even bolder idea is what countries like Singapore, UAE and New Zealand do which is to attract businesses to their shores by simplifying taxes, offering incentives and making it easy for businesses to want to set up shop in their countries.
This is where our marketing needs to focus so that we can enjoy the lifestyle that we have in this state. Otherwise, we will have a museum that people come to look at rather than a state this is bustling, thriving and vibrant.