Analysis and Commentary

SA’s new focus on manufacturing in Cabinet

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts

South Australia’s new Labor government has emphatically refocussed on the manufacturing sector with the choice of Deputy Premier Susan Close to serve as the state’s industry and science minister in the new Cabinet.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced his Cabinet on Thursday morning with Close, who has been the Deputy Labor leader since 2018, appointed as the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, along with the Minister for Space and Defence Industries.

Ms Close served as a manufacturing, innovation and trade minister in the previous Labor government from 2014, and her appointment will be beneficial the sector.

Under the Liberals there was no manufacturing minister, no department of manufacturing, and no section of any department and hence no senior bureaucrat with the word ‘manufacturing’ in the title.

The Liberal economic strategy barely mentioned manufacturing and did not mention at all the electronics sector, despite there being 400 SMEs who are contributing mightily to revived defence and space investment in the state.

Insiders speak of the wastage of manufacturing focused staff from various departments and frustration as manufacturing was seen only through the prism of other sectors such as minerals and energy, space and defence.

These oversights were dismissed by the former Liberal Premier when I raised them with him – he just did not see that having no focus on manufacturing meant no focus on manufacturing.

Marshall is to be given credit for the state playing home to the Australian Space Agency’s headquarters at Lot 14, along with a Mission Control Centre and the Australian Space Discovery Centre, and for his focus on defence

However your ambition for space and defence is surely truncated if you don’t have a focus on making things.

Picture: InnovationAus/SA Cabinet

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