Committee for Adelaide pushes transformation

Adelaide could be a smart small city built on nano- and bio-tech industries – if it can come to accept that old ways and old industries aren’t the future, says a high-powered new local think-tank.

The Committee for Adelaide, a creation of local business and public service leaders, entrepreneurs, consultants, publishers and media identities, was launched today with the publication of its first manifesto for Adelaide – Earning our Place in a Global Economy.

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The committee argues Adelaide should focus on newly emerging industries with the hope of building a smart, entrepreneurial local economy.

Incentives – financial and otherwise – should be put in place by the State Government to attract research and development-intensive industries.

These industries, such as “pharmaceuticals, nanotech and biotech, medical… defence, space and flight technology… [and] robotics” all have long and complex value-chains and would nourish multiple sectors of the economy.

A new “investment vehicle” should be established to “broker capital raising from a range of investor types, including institutions, global and local superannuation funds and charitable and philanthropic sources”.

The committee believes its recommendations are timely because it sees Adelaide standing at something of a historical crossroads.

“Adelaide has been at a tipping point for years,” the committee writes in its report.

“But recently, the balance has tipped. Our key industries face very real threats; putting the sustainability of our economy and the growth of our community at risk. Our small-and-medium-enterprise sector which is our lifeblood, is struggling to survive and grow, let alone innovate.

“We need to think differently about how we govern, fund and build the infrastructure we need. We must stop comparing and start competing.”

The committee calls on the public and private sectors to “project Adelaide’s strengths as a smart, small city connected to national and regional economics through personal, professional and technology networks.”

Other recommendations in the report, available here, include:

A new productivity-focussed team to start work on finding “new business models… on the delivery of infrastructure and services” in the public and private sector.
The way intellectual property work should be reshaped, and we should begin working with a regional body – ASEAN is suggested – to develop a regional intellectual property sharing framework.
A “Diaspora Action plan” to link together Adelaide’s network of expats.
“World class incentives to encourage those who leave the state to retain their assets, holdings and capital here”.