Strong regions mean a strong state according to Premier Steven Marshall.
The guest speaker at last week’s Rural Media SA breakfast,held at the Royal Adelaide Show, said his government recognised the significant contribution of the regions to the SA economy, with $25 billion a year towards gross state product.
Therefore in the budget it had reinvested $773 million over five years on regional initiatives such as upgrading rural roads, plus more money for country education and health.
It was also spending $150m in the next decade in Regional Growth Fund and $12.5m over four years to establish four new trade offices overseas and a greater presence in China.
“These investments will pay massive dividends not only for the regions but the productivity of the state,” he said.
He reassured those in regional areas they had a strong voice in government with one third of his team living in regional SA, including four Ministers in the Cabinet.
“They are ensuring around the cabinet table and in the Liberal party room when key decisions are being made the needs of our regions are given the priority they require and quite frankly the priority they deserve but have lacked for such a long time,” he said.
Mr Marshall also discussed the need for more skilled migration to both grow SA’s population but importantly address the difficulty of many businesses in rural and regional areas in filling jobs.
He said the state government was committed to training and retraining SA workers,with more than $200m for additional apprenticeships and traineeships and $100m for tafeSA in the next four years, but skilled migration was also a “strategic tool.”
“We have a two-speed challenge,some cities and regions are growing massively, others stagnant and others going backwards,” he said.
“The current arrangements don’t work and we are on the front foot discussing the opportunities with the federal government.”