South Australia plans economic boost to counter Holden shutdown

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st February 2016

Bickford’s Cordial last week hosted the unveiling of the South Australian Government’s $25 million economic boost for Adelaide.


The South Australian government is seeking to attract more local businesses to the northern Adelaide region to find job opportunities for Holden employees who will lose their positions when the Holden car manufacturer moves all of its production off-shore in 2017.


It is estimated that more than 8, 000 jobs will be lost when Holden’s Adelaide operations close. The South Australia government believes the economic boost will create 15, 000 jobs by 2025. In October 2015 unemployment figures revealed that South Australia had the worst unemployment rate in the nation, sitting at 7.5 per cent.


In addition to the $25 million, 70 local businesses have promised to invest almost $250 million into the Adelaide economy over the next 18 months. Included in the companies is Bickford’s which already has former Holden employees using their manufacturing skills to work at the plant. Included in the companies is Bickford’s which is lead by industry entrepreneur Angelo Kotses.


“We actually do have ex-Holden workers here and they’ve brought a different dimension to the place and I think one of the positives of that is they’ve brought in some skilled talent and they’ve got an environment where they have freedom to enjoy their job,”Kotses  told the ABC’s PM radio program last week.


The South Australian government has allocated the $10 million funding to help attract tenants to a Northern Adelaide Food Park. The Food Park will be located on a 40 hectare piece of land near Parafield Airport.


South Australia’s State government has already spent $2 million on the project and will use the further $7 million to help complete it. The South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill believes growing food production is vital.


The Northern Adelaide Food Park


When the food park was first announced in October 2015, premier Weatherill said it would be designed for the use of food manufacturers, food packaging specialists, cold-chain suppliers and transport companies.


“South Australia’s food manufacturers face numerous challenges including increasing costs of operation,” Mr Weatherill said.


“The 40-hectare Food Park will provide expansion opportunities for new and existing businesses. Importantly, the Park will help to expedite distribution of food to local, national and international markets.


Weatherill said many food manufacturers in South Australia currently experience issues with limited space to grow and increasing costs of operation.


“By co-locating and even sharing certain utilities creating cost competitiveness and driving efficiencies,” he said.


“It will create jobs and drive business in a sector that is world-class.”


The economic plan also includes a separate $10 million small business development fund, $4 million for a disability employment hub, $100, 000 for investment in live music and $50, 000 for a youth program run through the Port Adelaide Football Club.


Adelaide’s food manufacturing industry


Adelaide is already known for its food and wine, especially produce which comes from its world famous Barossa Valley region.


Amongst its largest food and beverage manufacturers in the region is Bickford’s, which has a long history dating back almost to the founding of Adelaide in the 1830s. Bickfords has at least well-known 14 drink brands including Bickford’s Cordial, Juice and Soda, Aqua Pura, Milk Mix and Fruities Cordial.


Another long-established local food manufacturer is Haigh’s Chocolate which has been manufacturing confectionery in Adelaide since 1915. It now has six stores across South Australia and eight others located in Melbourne and Sydney.