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South Australia must climb out of export rut

Today’s ABS data has revealed that South Australia has recorded its worst March merchandisable export values in six years, with the State’s overall trade to March 2016 dropping by $37 million compared to the previous 12 months.

South Australia’s slip down the national export ladder is further highlighted in the Federal Government’s ‘Trade by State and Territory’ report showing SA recorded the biggest decline in export volumes of any state or territory across Australia in 2014-15.

The report shows that in 2014-15, export volumes for Australia rose 6.6 per cent with increases recorded by WA (up 8.3 per cent), Queensland (up 5.5 per cent), New South Wales (up 5.2 per cent), Victoria (up 3.2 per cent) and ACT (up 3.0 per cent).

Meanwhile, South Australia’s export volumes declined by 6.6 per cent during that period and the State’s national export share now sits at just 4.3 per cent.

Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said South Australia cannot afford to be at the bottom of the pack when it comes to the nation’s exports.

“With the challenges facing mining and manufacturing industries in South Australia, the reliance on exports to grow the State’s economy is becoming even greater,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Put simply, this State cannot afford to be recording a significant decline in merchandise and service exports as other Australian states continue to invest and grow their export capacity.

“The Weatherill Labor Government must stop resting on its laurels, be more proactive and provide further assistance for the State’s exporters to enter new markets and remove bureaucratic barriers preventing export growth.”

A number of South Australia’s major export markets experienced decline in 2014-15 including China (down 30.3 per cent to $2.3 billion), Malaysia (down 4.2 per cent to $643 million) and Japan (down 15.1 per cent to $524 million).

“All Australian states are experiencing the same global economic conditions and yet South Australia’s share of the nation’s export market remains stagnant over the long term,” said Mr Whetstone.