NORTHERN ECONOMIC PLAN

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(14:59:30): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Automotive Transformation a question regarding the northern economic plan.Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: First, as this is my first question to the minister, I extend my congratulations to him, particularly as a former member of the Whips Union. The 30-year plan for Greater Adelaide indicates that by 2036 the population growth of the northern suburbs will require an additional 79,000 jobs to be sustainable. With the imminent closure of General Motors Holden and potential effects on supply chain businesses, the northern suburban region, which is a major economic driver for our state, is facing major challenges.

In response the government recently announced the development of a northern economic plan to create jobs in the region, source new opportunities for businesses' growth and diversify the local economy and ascertain from where resources to support these programs will come. I recently read with interest a document that overviewed the government's objectives for the plan. I noted with pleasure that the state Labor government in this document spoke positively about partnering with the federal Coalition government specifically to deliver a $155 million growth fund, which is helping companies affected by the automotive closures take up other opportunities and growth sectors.

It appears the development of this plan is in its infancy, but the potential for success is great and, for the people of the northern suburbs, much required. My questions of the minister are:

1.When will the draft plan be ready and put out for public consultation?

2.Other than state and local government agencies and industry bodies, from who else will the minister seek feedback or input for the plan?

3.When does the minister expect the final plan will be ready to be released to the public and become a working blueprint for northern economic development?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER(Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)(15:01:48): I thank the honourable member for his very important question and his long-term interest in matters to do with northern Adelaide, which obviously includes the area in which he lives and represents. I will start by giving a bit of background about this plan. As the honourable member has pointed out, it is about a plan for northern Adelaide, particularly in the wake of the announcement that Holden will end its manufacturing business in South Australia.

As tempting as it is to talk about why Holden is leaving, as I did when the Hon. Andrew McLachlan helpfully asked me a question on my very first day as a minister, I will not go through all of that right now at the start of my answer, but I make very clear that the reason this plan is so crucial is because the federal government is chasing the automotive industry out of this country, putting in jeopardy so many jobs. This new approach is needed as Holden prepares to leave the state and, as honourable members know, this goes beyond the mere closure of Holden but affects supply chain industries and other service industries.

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: If you don't mention that I won't mention that Nick Champion said that he'd saved Holdens.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank the honourable member for his interjection and note his new-found confidence, with his hipster beard, in being able to interject so ferociously as I give an answer.The northern Adelaide economic plan will be led by the government of South Australia, but has been and will continue to be developed in collaboration with local government, industry and the community.

The action-oriented economic plan will provide a road map that focuses on job creation and providing new skills. The work of the Automotive Transformation Taskforce will feed into and complement the northern economic plan. In fact, the Automotive Transformation Taskforce is just one of the resources available to help activate the plan. There are many other resources, particularly through state government departments, that will be used.

It will feature short, medium and long-term initiatives including, but not limited to: industry diversification by identifying and capturing new opportunities in a range of sectors, such as food and beverage, horticultural research, advanced manufacturing, construction and new building materials, health services, aged care and disability, mining and energy services, defence, transport and logistics and urban infrastructure.

It will also look at small business capabilities and development to encourage entrepreneurship, including improving industry links with research institutions, product development, productivity and business models. The plan will utilise university and research capabilities already in the northern suburbs, achieving a better return on these activities.

It will renew the region's existing assets and identify potential opportunities to generate employment and community outcomes from these existing assets. It will look to identify opportunities for urban regeneration and infrastructure to optimise the economic development in areas such as Technology Park and the Mawson Innovation Precinct, and it will provide new skills and workforce development to match job opportunities in the north.

Just in the last two weeks, I addressed the Northern Economics Leaders group which met at Mawson Lakes and whose members represent many industry sectors across the north and will make a significant contribution in directing the plan, preparing it and implementing it. Strong partnership, I think, as the honourable member identified in his questions, is required between all levels of government, industry, universities and the community, including regional groups, providing social and community support.

Central coordination across government will be done through the Department of State Development, while other agencies will be asked to contribute from their areas of responsibility. In the last two weeks, I have met with local mayors who, with industry and government representatives, will form a community leaders' group that will seek to lead the development and then the implementation of this plan.

The honourable member asked a number of questions in relation to the timing of this plan. I expect to meet with this community leaders' group sometime in the next two to three weeks where we will look at a schedule to set out time frames, but I would anticipate certainly within the coming few months that there will be a draft plan, and I will be happy to talk to the honourable member about that plan and how it affects the regions that he represents.