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Progress Against Objectives - December 2017

Growth through innovation

2017 Objectives

Status (as at December 2017)


Create $400 million of new sophisticated manufacturing export products in response to the cessation of automotive manufacturing.


In 2016-17, sophisticated exports increased by $400 million to $4.5 billion.

Increase the level of business expenditure on research and development from $1.06bn in 2011–12 to at least $1.5bn in 2017.

Not Achieved

In 2015–16, $774.3 million was spent on research and expenditure in South Australia. This reflects a national decrease in research and development expenditure by the mining and manufacturing sectors as they transition and restructure. Final data for this objective is not expected to be made available until August 2019 (biennial updates).

The state government is supporting a number of programs that assist businesses to innovate, including the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute with $7.5 million in Future Industries Accelerator funding to 2018-19.

South Australia is recognised nationally as being a good location for business to establish their research and development activities. For example, LaserBond, a New South Wales company, located its research and development operation in Northern Adelaide, with support from the Mining and Petroleum Services Centre of Excellence, which provides seed funding for innovative ideas that increase competitiveness, reduce costs and help find solutions to industry problems.

Establish Tonsley as a nationally recognised and globally connected innovation and advanced manufacturing hub.


As at October 2017, more people work at Tonsley than when the site was owned by Mitsubishi in 2009. In the last year, Tonsley has hosted 66 tours and 16 tours for international Ambassadors to Australia, international government ministers and delegations involving companies looking for investment opportunities in South Australia.

Tonsley was selected to be the trial site for autonomous vehicle development in 2018 as part of the state government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund. This will involve a trial with RDM and an autonomous bus manufacturer. Siemens International has established a turbo-machinery workshop at Tonsley through a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government, which will ensure that South Australia has access to information on future trends and opportunities, opportunities to promote Tonsley to national and global audiences, and open channels for international education, research and industry collaboration.

Tonsley is connected to the GigCity service and a large number of businesses on-site have connected to the service. A globally significant renewable energy scheme will be implemented at Tonsley in partnership with Enwave Energy to create one of the largest rooftop solar projects in the Southern Hemisphere.

Ensure that all major public and private projects support innovation and local businesses through their procurement decisions.


As at October 2017, the average value of state government goods and services contracts awarded to suppliers with a predominant workforce within South Australia, has grown from 65% to almost 80% over the last three years.

The Industry Participation Advocate role and associated industry participation policy has been recognised nationally as the exemplar in procurement policy to support local economic development.

The Industry Capability Network South Australia (ICNSA) provides public and private purchasers with a free sourcing service to identify Australian and New Zealand businesses capable of supplying those items that would otherwise be imported. $73.45 million in ICN wins were recorded for South Australian suppliers facilitated by ICNSA over 2016–17. 5,543 expressions of interest were received on ICNSA projects, of which 3,883 were on defence-specific projects from local suppliers. Examples include:

  • The Northern Connector has created more than $350 million in sub-contracting for SA businesses, representing more than 90% of the expected work packages, and 54% of onsite employees being from the local area.

The Loxton Research Centre achieved 97% of labour hours and 93% of sub-contracting being sourced from within the local Riverland region.

Uphold South Australia’s status as the Defence State by increasing local industry participation in major defence projects, including military vehicles, aircraft and submarine build and sustainment.


Under a partnership with the South Australian Government, French company Dassault Systèmes will deliver a new Virtual Shipyard Training Project to ensure South Australia's defence supply chain is world-class. Up to eight companies will participate in the first round of the Virtual Shipyard Training Project, which commenced in October 2017, and a second round of eight firms is due to start in April 2018. The project will leverage Dassault Systèmes 3D-Experience Portfolio and Industry Solutions platform.

In April 2017, Boeing Defence Australia established their new strategic hub in Adelaide. This will create 250 new high skilled technical and advanced research positions.

The Defence Innovation Partnership has been established, to work collaboratively across industry, government and the education sector to generate defence-related research and development activity for the state.South Australia was successful in its bid to host the 2018 Land Forces conference in Adelaide.

Entrench Techport Australia as the national centre of complex warship and submarine build and sustainment.


Techport Australia has been secured to support the future naval shipbuilding programs, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the commonwealth government.