LANDING PAD PROGRAM

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:44): My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Will the minister provide an update to the council about the South Australian Landing Pad program?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade and Investment) (14:44): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in some of the good things that this government is doing. It was part way through 2019 that we established the South Australian Landing Pad to help businesses expand into the state, creating connections between suppliers, retailers, business partners, customers and markets.

The Landing Pad program proactively targets companies with high growth potential and synergies to our growth sectors to establish operations in South Australia. Businesses can access up to $80,000 to reimburse workspace costs and professional services costs, as well as case management support, through the Department for Trade and Investment.

We have already announced three companies that have accessed the Landing Pad, being the French cybersecurity firm Squad, the nanosatellite company Tyvak and, most recently, CVX Semiconductor from Hong Kong. While COVID-19 has significantly impacted on business activity globally, we are still witnessing strong interest in our Landing Pad program, indicating that many global companies are keen to get on with the job and invest in South Australia.

I have recently seen the pipeline. Some are early stage, some are a bit more mature, but there are a bit over 30 companies in the pipeline that we are working with, to try to get them here so that our economy can come back stronger than before. This is very encouraging as we look towards charting our way out of this crisis and into the economic rebound on the other side, as I said, to come back stronger than before.

I am pleased to announce today that the latest recipient of the South Australian Landing Pad is a company called CH4. It's one of four that we will announce over the coming weeks and months that have been awarded a position with our South Australian Landing Pad. CH4 Global is a red seaweed aquaculture business that harvests seaweed to create a feed supplement for livestock, reducing methane output. This forward-thinking global business hopes to create up to 100 jobs in the next two to three years, with significant room for further expansion.

These jobs will primarily be located in the Port Lincoln area, boosting the local economy as well as working towards a global goal of combating climate change. The jobs will be primarily in harvesting and processing to assist CH4 to meet its export demands, and the company estimates the venture could bring in billions of dollars in revenue over the next three to five years.

CH4 founder, Dr Steve Meller, originally hails from South Australia and he is incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the community. Seaweed is known to store carbon; it is well known to absorb nitrogen and phosphorus, which come from agricultural run-off and finfish aquaculture; and it reduces ocean acidification. Dr Meller aims to supply a significant amount of product to feed South Australia's dairy and beef feedlot industry and work towards bringing South Australia towards carbon neutrality. It is fantastic that Dr Meller has brought this innovative company back to South Australia.


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