Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Australia's

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Ben
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Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Australia's

#1 Post by Ben » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:21 pm

Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Australia's confidence

by:

Alexander Downer

From:
AdelaideNow

August 26, 2012

AFTER the Olympic Dam decision, the state needs to get back to boosting its confidence, says Alexander Downer.
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LET'S not try to gild the lily. It is best to be honest with ourselves.

Last week's announcement that the Olympic Dam expansion is not going ahead is a terrible setback for our state.

It may not be as big a setback as the State Bank disaster but it's the biggest since then.

Our hopes were raised by BHP Billiton and governments only to be dashed.

But in life, what do you do when you face a severe setback? You can play the blame game and get angry.

That's tempting and only human. But it won't change anything.

No, what we need to do as a state is pick ourselves up, brush off the dust and work on a new plan to revive confidence and enthusiasm in South Australia.

For a start, we need to look for new and exciting ways to build on our strengths.

To do that we need to be frank about our strengths and weaknesses, without painful spin or self-delusion.

Fresh food and wine, technological excellence in the defence sector, lifestyle and a benign climate are among our strengths.

Once we were at the leading edge of social and political reform.

We can't claim, these days, to be at the forefront of many ideas.

The truth is, we've become very conservative in a literal sense; we resist change. Every time something is proposed, there are howls of protest and the decision-makers cave in.

Well, living in the past isn't going to get us far in the future.

Nor is this endless process of consultation.

In the end we need leadership. We need someone or several people who can decide, not just consult.

So that I can't be accused of carping criticism, here are a few ideas. Number one, we need to see if we can change our terrible state taxation system, even if other states want to stick with the same system.

Every politician I've spoken to about this agrees but says it's politically too difficult.
That's not good enough.

They need to start a statewide debate about the issue, get people used to different ideas and then start to reshape land taxes, stamp duties and payroll tax.

Let's start with a tax summit. Invite SA's business and community leaders, academics and a selection of our politicians and get them to spend two or three days thrashing out the options.

They won't reach consensus - you can be sure of that - but they will put forward creative ideas that could give SA a real competitive advantage.

And make it bipartisan. I'd even offer to co-chair it myself with an ALP counterpart!

Number two, let's see if we can't make a massive effort to lift our education standards from mediocre to the best in Australia.

If more money is to be forthcoming, then let's lift the pay of good teachers, give schools much more autonomy and upgrade teacher training to the best in the land.

The facilities are OK. But we need the best and the brightest becoming teachers, not slipping off into medicine or law.

And SA should have an open-door policy to private universities.

We already have Carnegie Mellon and UCL, and the Torrens University owned by the Laureate Group will start soon. That's a good foundation to build on.

Number three, we need to work with Canberra to consolidate SA as the centre of excellence for defence technology and manufacturing.

The Hawke government gave us the submarines and the Howard government the air warfare destroyers. Other defence manufacturers leverage off DSTO.

So we have the foundations. Let's do more.

Number four, Tom Playford founded the Adelaide Festival and Steele Hall began building the Festival Centre.

But since Dunstan and Di Laidlaw, no one has shown any great vision for the arts in SA.

Our Festival is still excellent but it's not automatically seen as the best. That is one area where we could spend more money.

We need to recapture the place we've now lost as the arts capital of Australia.

Number five is tourism. Oh dear. We are doing very poorly there.

We get very few foreign tourists, way fewer than our share of the national population.

We need to tell developers our doors are open.

We need 5-star tourist developments in the Barossa, the Flinders Ranges and on Kangaroo Island.

We need to hunt for potential developers in Asia, tell them we want their money and we'll facilitate the development approvals - and fast.

Number six is immigration. Honestly, migrants come to SA in a tiny trickle. Yet they bring ideas, prosperity, cultural diversity and interaction between our community and the outside world.
Without migrants, we'll become a museum, intellectually, socially and economically.

I know that some people don't like foreigners but let me tell you, I have dealt with them for most of my life.

They're fine. And the right sorts of migrants could make a mighty contribution to our economy.

And finally - I'm running out of space - how about getting rid of much of the red-tape approvals processes?

Time costs money so the longer it takes to get approvals through the less likely the development is to take place.

The Adelaide Hills Council - a truly slow bureaucracy - took about a year to approve some changes we made to our house.

That's just a private residence. What message does that send to anyone who wants to bring development to the Hills?

And now it wants to scrap the Oakbank Easter racing carnival, which brings about 100,000 people to the Hills!

As my kids would Tweet, OMG!

There are plenty of other things we need to do, of course.

But the trouble with South Australia is it has become frighteningly complacent.

There isn't a battle of visions and ideas, just a bunch of Jeremiahs telling anyone with a commitment to progress why it can't be done.

That's what we need to do. Attack self-satisfied complacency.

The sad Olympic Dam decision may, at last, wake us up and remind us that societies without progress just wither and die.

Will
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Re: Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Austral

#2 Post by Will » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:47 pm

In all likelihood, the ALP will lose the 2014 election. However, the current liberal party would only get in primarily because of the 'its time' factor, and not because of any real vision or policy from their part. I don't blame Tony Abbott for not being able to name a policy by the state liberal party, because frankly they have none. Isobel Redmond lacks vision and zeal. People within the liberal party should convince Alexander Downer to become SA liberal leader. Because, at least he is showing some vision and leadership. Something which is sorely lacking within the current party leadership.

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Re: Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Austral

#3 Post by Vee » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:52 pm

Who gives an Olympic Dam?
Interesting media campaign, highlighted on Twitter, to promote positivity about SA in the wake of the Olympic Dam announcement to scrap/postpone? its mining expansion.

Background and examples.
http://mumbrella.com.au/adelaide-newspa ... ped-112362

More on contributions:
http://www.giveadam.com.au/about

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Re: Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Austral

#4 Post by Hooligan » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:46 pm

Will wrote:In all likelihood, the ALP will lose the 2014 election. However, the current liberal party would only get in primarily because of the 'its time' factor, and not because of any real vision or policy from their part. I don't blame Tony Abbott for not being able to name a policy by the state liberal party, because frankly they have none. Isobel Redmond lacks vision and zeal. People within the liberal party should convince Alexander Downer to become SA liberal leader. Because, at least he is showing some vision and leadership. Something which is sorely lacking within the current party leadership.
I know for one i would seriously consider voting for an Alexander Downer Liberal government

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Re: Time to germinate some good ideas to boost South Austral

#5 Post by rev » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:55 pm

I don't think it would really matter who took charge of the state Liberals, they are in complete disarray. And they have been that way since the Olsen government at least.
Nothing has changed for the better amongst them.
You have one incredibly incompetent person after the next trying to be leader, and it gets worse with those below them.

Putting Labor v Liberal nonsense aside, I really hope they sort them selves out, if they are to win an election simply because "it's time" and people want a change. Because if they don't, and these are the incompetent people who will be thrust into the leadership of our state, then we are in for a very turbulent and uncertain ride.

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