Home' InDaily : January 22nd 2010 Contents January 22 - 28, 2010
The Independent Weekly
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Defence and hi-tech industries
including aquaculture are
boosting job prospects for
South Australians as the state
begins to recover from the economic
December employment figures
show a marginal decrease in SA
unemployment by 0.2 per cent to
5.3 per cent, compared to a national
rate of 5.5 per cent.
"The defence and hi-tech
industries have been protected
from the global downturn, and
agriculture has still done well
because the commodity prices have
kept their trend," Business SA s
Peter Vaughan said.
He said the state economy was
shifting from a rural and manu-
facturing base to a value-adding
economy supported by the defence,
technology and mining sectors.
"The trend will continue to great
advantage and stresses the need to
attract and retain skilled employees
and for young people to stay in
school," he said.
"Hi-tech industries, including
aquaculture, will buoy the economy,
and also niche businesses which
have overcome the tyranny of
distance by sophisticated use of
But Mr Vaughan said 90 per
cent of SA businesses were small
to medium enterprises with
high payroll taxes restricting job
"We are the quintessential small-
medium business state with 90 per
cent of businesses employing less
than 20 people and 60 per cent of
those employing only one person,"
Mr Vaughan said.
"Payroll tax kicks in at the lowest
level and it s a major cost to busi-
nesses. The payroll tax threshold
should be raised and the tax
lowered so businesses can expand
and be encouraged to employ staff."
The State Opposition claims high
taxes are responsible for SA s high
youth unemployment rate, which at
27.4 per cent is the second highest in
the country. Shadow Employment
Minister David Pisoni said there
were 1440 fewer jobs in the state s
economy in December and that high
payroll and land taxes were a mas-
sive disincentive to job creation.
"This is why young South
Australians are moving interstate
in droves -- because there are more
jobs interstate where businesses
are encouraged to grow," Mr Pisoni
"The ANZ and Oliver job surveys
showed a decrease in advertise-
ments in SA while job ads increased
Employment Minister Michael
O Brien said the increase in
employment and steady participa-
tion rate showed South Australians
had confidence in their ability to
Mr O Brien said a record number
of developments in SA, including
minerals and energy, urban
development and defence projects,
were a sign of the state s recovery
from the downturn.
"These major developments are
driving our recovery and bringing
jobs, investment and renewed
confidence to the SA economy," he
But further job cuts are forecast
in the public sector, according to
shadow finance minister Rob Lucas.
In last year s budget the
Government committed to limiting
public-sector wage increases to 2.5
per cent a year.
It said this was "in an effort to
provide a real wage increase to
public-sector employees, prevent
further job losses being required
and ensure the sustainability of the
state s finances".
The recent public-sector wage
agreement secured the 2.5 per cent
pay rise, improvements to mater-
nity leave, penalty payments and
flexi-time arrangements, as well as
a one-off $600 payment.
Mr Lucas said the one-off
payment pushed the pay rise for
this year from 2.5 per cent to 5.3 per
cent. He claims other offers to allied
health professionals and teachers
will also breach the 2.5 per cent
wage increase limit.
"It is now clear -- based on Mr
Foley s own statements -- that he
will now have to implement further
public sector job cuts if the Rann
Government is re-elected in March
The Government dismissed
Mr Lucas s interpretation of the
figures. "The offer made to the
majority of public sector workers
falls within the budgeted rise of
2.5 per cent rise over the life of the
agreement," Industrial Relations
Minister Paul Caica said.
Economy of war and fish
A fascination with rocks and
the freedom to work in the open
air attracted Adam Scott to a
career as a geologist, but with
an unemployment rate well
above the national average the
industry is far from solid.
Mr Scott is a graduate of
the Australian School of
Petroleum, based at Adelaide
University, but has since moved
to work in Brisbane.
He held a secure job as a
petroleum geologist during
the downturn, but nationally
almost one in five geoscientists
are either unemployed or
Mr Scott said work had
dropped off with the financial
crises but was starting to pick
The Australian Institute
of Geoscientists said despite
signs of economic recovery the
mining exploration sector was
Institute vice president
Andrew Waltho said in SA
unemployment in the minerals
sector was slightly higher
than the national average for
Here, just over three in 10
professional geologists and
geophysicists are underem-
Mr Waltho called for
governments to support the
exploration sector by enhanc-
ing tax breaks.
"We d like to see taxation
provisions for exploration
expenditure being changed by
the Government to reduce the
cyclical nature of the industry
by making it more attractive to
He said each downturn
in exploration and mining
industries resulted in a loss
of skills to the industry as expe-
rienced geoscientists looked for
SA Chamber of Mines and
Energy chief executive Jason
Kuchel said the employment
problem for SA s geoscientists
was starting to turn around.
"The good news is that the
number of jobs available and
the under employment problem
that existed six months ago has
begun to turn around," he said.
"The State Government
has also provided money to
industry to provide subsidies
to companies to get graduate
geoscientists into the work
force providing them with jobs
and experience they might not
otherwise have received."
Adelaide University Head
of Geology and Geophysics
Graham Heinson said two
years ago students would have
up to three job offers, but this
had declined dramatically with
the economic crises.
But Mr Heinson said despite
the downturn, honours student
numbers were continuing to
increase and most graduates
had been able to secure jobs.
He said the mining sector
had benefited from strong
"Students who would have
once moved to Queensland or
Perth are now able to stay in
Adelaide," he said.
SA rocks, but not enough
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