South Australia’s poor trade performance has highlighted the failure of the Weatherill Labor Government to allocate adequate funding to develop overdue trade strategies.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today show South Australia’s exports to May 2015 sit at $11.4 billion, down from $12.4 billion in May 2014, a drop of 7.7 per cent.
“The loss of a billion dollars in merchandise exports in a 12 month period is another sign of South Australia’s deep economic problems,” said Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone.
As part of Labor’s Economic Priorities : Promoting South Australia’s international connections and engagements, the State Government promised to develop new trade strategies to encompass the North Atlantic and North Asia in 2015 and the Middle East and North Africa in 2016.
However, no new funding was allocated to complete the strategies in the 2015/16 State Budget.
In fact, trade strategies for North Atlantic and North Asia are unfunded for 2015/16, while the Middle East and North Africa did not even rate a mention in the State Budget.
Mr Whetstone said the lack of vision for improving South Australian exports will have long term ramifications.
“At a time when building South Australia’s exports is an integral component of economic development, the state doesn’t even have targeted trade strategies for key trading partner countries,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Labor has promised to develop trade strategies in 2015-16 but as the State Budget revealed, there is no money allocated for the strategies for North Atlantic, North Asia, Middle East and North Africa.
“Most disappointingly, there is also no funding to further the state’s international on-ground presence outside of South East Asia.
“The Minister for Trade must put forward policy which ensures South Australia’s exports grow instead of moving backwards.”