As new South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas steps up, one business owner in the state’s all-important wine industry has high hopes this Labor government will be a business-friendly one.
Last weekend, Labor claimed a decisive victory in the South Australian election, reclaiming the reins from Steven Marshall’s Liberal party.
Ahead of the polls, Labor had promised to address skills shortages, shell out manufacturing grants, and overhaul industrial relations policies.
As for the wine and tourism industry, Chester Osborn, chief winemaker and viticulturist at d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale, says he is feeling confident in the new leadership.
For these two crucial sectors, “the last Labor government didn’t seem to be a problem”, Osborn tells SmartCompany.
In fact, the previous Labor government helped fund the famous d’Arenberg Cube cellar door.
The outgoing Liberal government had a strong focus on the tourism sector, Osborn notes.
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That’s something he would like to see prioritised under the Malinauskas government too, especially amid the continuing Omicron wave of COVID-19, and with threats of new variants looming.
“We certainly don’t want to see lockdowns come up all over again,” Osborn says.
Osborn also notes that South Australia saw something of a turnaround under the Liberals. Where previously people were leaving the state in droves, now more people are staying, returning, or arriving.
Government incentives may have helped with this, but the timing was also right, he notes.
Big cities like Melbourne and Sydney “have become more difficult to live in, and Adelaide is not too difficult”.
More locals staying in South Australia, and more people moving to the state, can only be a good thing for business, and he would like this to remain a priority.
Finally, there are macroeconomics to consider. The wine industry has been hit hard by China’s tariffs on Aussie wine imports, and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has also highlighted the need for self sufficiency, Osborn says.
“I’m sure every government in the world is looking at that,” he adds.
“That’s a whole area that needs to be considered. Where are we vulnerable, and how do we protect our interests in the case of a bigger catastrophe?”