South Australian exports have recorded the single largest drop in value for the month of December since statistics have been retained, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
In a sign of the Weatherill Labor Govenrment’s failure to adequately support the state’s exporters, South Australian exports fell below $12 billion annualised for the first time in almost a year.
Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said the Weatherill Labor Government has continually reduced funding to assist exporters, missing prime opportunities to open new export markets.
“Since the 2011-12 Budget, Labor has slashed funding for the main State Government program aimed at stimulating exports from $30 million to $19 million,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Labor promised to lift exports to $25 billion by 2013 and when that promise was broken, that target was revised to 2014 and now to 2020.
“The latest ABS statistics show that South Australian exports have not yet reached even half of Labor’s $25 billion promise.”
Mr Whetstone said the State Government requires greater trade policy direction to continue to compete in a global market.
“South Australia does not have individual trade strategies for a number of countries which are key export partners,” Mr Whetstone said.
“With Free Trade Agreements with Korea and Japan now in effect, South Australia needs to develop robust trade strategies to capitalise on opportunities to trade with these countries.
“Despite the Premier’s promises on the global economy, the Labor Government has closed and reduced funding to programs that assist our state to become more competitive on an international scale and it’s time investment is improved in an area that is critical to the state’s economy.”