United leadership from Federal and State Governments is essential in order to continue to be taken seriously by international shipbuilding companies and investors.
This week’s refusal by Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne to include the South Australian Government in a local defence round table sent the wrong message to the sector, locally and internationally, and had the potential to undermine confidence.
On Friday, the Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith used his post Federal Budget speech to 200 business people at a Business Enterprise Centre lunch, to call for a ‘Team Australia’ approach to the submarine, naval ship building and manufacturing sector.
He told the gathering, which was also attended by Minister Pyne, that unless Federal and State Governments demonstrate a statesmanlike approach and showed they could work together as a team with key stakeholders, there was a very real danger that international companies likes DCNS, BAE, Navantia and Fincantieri would see Australia as a disorganised customer.
Quotes attributable to Small Business Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith
Workers and businesses look to the Federal and State Governments to work together on their behalf and unless we do so successfully, delivery of the submarines is put at risk.
All that matters here are jobs and business investment. Petty politics must be put aside in the national interest.
Minister Pyne and Minister Payne should take a leaf out of the book of former Federal Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, who consistently promoted the ‘Team Australia’ approach to important Federal-State dealings, making all efforts to promote trade and attract international investment.
The delivery of 12 submarines from Adelaide will secure jobs for South Australians and transform our economy towards high end, advanced manufacturing that will attract global attention.
It’s wins like this that highlight the importance of creating an environment that encourages new investors, residents and visitors to South Australia. We cannot afford to put that at risk with petty politics.