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Small business success drives South Australia’s new economy

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

South Australia’s transition to a new economy is accelerating backed by the success of its $35 billion small business sector and one of the nation’s best trend unemployment rates of 5.6 per cent.

Releasing the 2017 Annual Small Business Statement and announcing the new Excellence in Business Fund at a 400-strong industry breakfast this morning, Small Business Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the sector could give itself a pat on the back for its contribution to the economy.

The partnerships between business and government were further underlined with the release today of tailored action plans for small business associations.

Pointing to predictions four years ago that the state’s 140,000 small businesses were staring down the barrel of economic disaster owing to the Holden closure, the Minister said the facts of today overshadowed the doomsayers of yesterday

The forecast was for double digit unemployment, the collapse of manufacturing and an exit of almost every automotive component supplier. Fast-forward four years and last week’s ANZ Bank Stateometer ranks our State economy as “growing above trend and accelerating”.

The small business sector, working closely with the State Government helped achieve this result. Furthermore, in the past 18 months 24 new investment projects have been secured by Investment Attraction South Australia (IASA). These projects will create 7085 jobs for South Australians – seven times the number of jobs that went with Holden.

The new Excellence in Business Fund will provide SMEs grants of up to $50,000 for capability building programs to increase competitiveness, access new export and local markets, expand operations and grow jobs. A new website also went live this morning and provides information about support, funding and initiatives available to small businesses.

Ttailored action plans have been released after consultation during the year with 53 industry associations.


The 2017 Statement highlights actions and results that the State Government has achieved in supporting small businesses to compete, grow, and create jobs since the inaugural Statement was released in December 2016. These include:

  • Permanent payroll tax rate of 2.5 per cent in SA for small businesses with payrolls between 600,000 and $1 million.
  • $10 million Small Business Development Fund targeted at northern Adelaide businesses - 131 businesses and start-ups have shared in $5,850,000 worth of grants. The projects supported by these grants will create more than 400 jobs.
  • Job Accelerator Grant provides up to $15,000 to employ an apprentice or trainee for companies with payrolls under $5 million. 12,402 registered employees.
  • More than 400 SA businesses have applied to the $200 million Future Jobs Fund.
  • The State Government’s $550 million Our Energy Plan will provide reliable, affordable and clean energy power to small businesses.
  • Strengthened Industry Advocate powers to encourage contractors to use local businesses and local workers on government projects.
  • 90 per cent of sub-contracts on projects of more than $50 million awarded to SA-based SMEs.

For more information about the Excellence in Business Fund, and other support available for small businesses, visit:

Quotes attributable to Small Business Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith

We have worked hard to create an environment where it’s easy to do business in South Australia, and the success of our small businesses is evidence our strategy is working.

The State Government is committed to supporting small businesses to access new markets, grow and create sustainable jobs.

We have cut red tape and introduced the most comprehensive tax reforms this State has ever seen, to provide a business environment that is competitive and cost-effective. These initiatives, and more, are paying dividends for our State, with the new South Australian businesses survival rate at 57.2 per cent – the highest in Australia.

While the commentariat had their eyes fixed on Holden, small business - in partnership with Government – remained focused on building a diversified, modern economy.

Quotes attributable to SKY News financial commentator and keynote speaker Peter Switzer

Innovative businesses can do it for themselves and by themselves, but astute governments can not only make it easier, they can encourage it.

Tax concessions and subsidies can be abused by a minority but the majority of aspirational business innovators are inspired by the gifts from enlightened policy makers. The best words a genuine business innovator can hear is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.