Ambitious plan to boost SA economy and population

By Staff Reporter

The Property Council of Australia has presented the South Australian state government with a series of policies aimed at boosting the state’s growth rate to drive economic prosperity.

An overseas recruitment mission is a key part of the ambitious plan, which aims to revive South Australia's flagging population and support initiatives to restore the state's economy to health.

Nathan Paine, Property Council SA executive director, says South Australia’s low population growth rate is slowing efforts to rebuild the state’s economy.

"At sub one per cent population growth, our growth rate is the lowest on the Australian mainland,” Mr Paine said. “This not only contributes to economic stagnation, but it also allows a sense of rot to creep in; it's preventing the vibrancy we all want.

The Property Council hopes that the policies will in turn drive growth in key economic sectors, such as building construction and redevelopment, retail and hospitality, stimulating other sectors.

"The built environment makes up more than 10 per cent of all employment and economic activity in this state, so when it slows, the whole economy slows," Mr Paine said.

"And it's not just about jobs and the economy. Without development, innovation and progress towards more sustainable communities stops in its tracks. Tax revenues dry up so governments can't pay for the community's social needs. Our communities simply cannot evolve and improve without it."

The Property Council's proposals centre on a heavy migration push into European countries ravaged by economic turmoil.

The PIIGS nations (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) represent ideal targets as they each suffer heart-breaking unemployment levels, especially youth unemployment; there is also some symmetry between the skills base in each country and each enjoys cultural links with Australia.

The migration push would target those unemployed people with skills likely to ensure employment in South Australia.

It would offer assistance with the costs of moving and rehousing, on the basis of a five-year commitment to remain in Australia. This would require a special visa class, meaning extensive negotiation between federal and state governments. It is hoped the program could attract an additional 12,000 migrants to the state each year.

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