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European Australian Business : 2008
53 Mining and defence industries are leading Australia’s southern mainland State of South Australia into an era of on-going prosperity, paving the way for growth in diverse economic sectors. As the world discovers a rapidly grow- ing need for mineral resources, the largely untapped reserve of riches beneath South Australia’s soil is becoming increasingly attractive to investors around the world. South Australia is also the high-tech centre of Australia’s defence industry and the Asia-Pacific headquarters of key defence companies. But South Australia’s prosperity is not due to its mining and defence assets alone: the State has an advanced manufacturing, technology and re- search base and is home to some of the world’s leading companies in food and wine, information technology and automotive. From its traditional rural and manu- facturing base, South Australia is becoming known as a rich and excit- ing trading region with prospects for impressive growth in a range of new industries. Defence The State leads the way in a number of defence-related areas, including naval shipbuilding, submarine support, sys- tems integration, electronic warfare, land-force enhancement, aerospace, surveillance, and defence research and development. South Australia’s defence industry consistently wins about 30 per cent of total national defence capital expendi- ture for new equipment and systems upgrades in Australia. Already the home of the $8 billion Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) build program, the Collins Class submarine maintenance and AP-3C Orion Alliance contracts, the State is on target to win billions of dollars of defence projects over the next decade. Under the AWD contract, three highly sophisticated destroyers will be constructed near Port Adelaide at Techport Australia, which is set to become Australia’s premier defence industry hub with the introduction of almost $400 million in infrastructure. The Australian Government is also making Adelaide the base of a new Army battalion of 1,200 personnel and their families from 2011. Advanced manufacturing South Australia has a long history in manufacturing, and is building on its strengths in traditional manufacturing sectors to lead the country in areas such as defence, wine, electronics and automotive. Adelaide is in the top three most cost-competitive cities in the world for key manufacturing sectors includ- ing automotive, aerospace, medical devices, precision manufacturing and plastics. International companies based in Adelaide such as GM Holden, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Carl Zeiss Vi- sion and Schefenacker are supported by advanced manufacturers in areas such as automation, systems integra- tion, design and development of new products and materials, and program- ming and operation of automated equipment. The State’s manufacturers contributed 57 per cent of the State’s total mer- chandise exports in 2006-07. The automotive industry is the largest single manufacturing sector in the State, producing at the GM Holden and Mitsubishi plants more than 40 per cent of the 333,084 cars made in Australia in 2006. Although Mitsubishi has recently announced the closure of its Adelaide plant for global strategic reasons, the Australian Government has committed to a new $20 million Manufacturing Centre in Adelaide. Education Adelaide is developing as Australia’s “learning city”. More than 11,500 overseas students attended Adelaide’s internationally renowned universities in 2007, resulting in South Australia outperforming the nation in terms of Mining and defence lead growth in SA South Australia – Australia’s premier defence industry hub south australia