Today Mark moved a motion calling on the Marshall Liberal Government to reinstate funding for Brand South Australia to continue their valuable work on the Brand SA and I Choose SA programs.
That this council—
1. Acknowledges the contribution of Brand South Australia, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that promotes economic growth and pride in South Australia;
2. Recognises the achievements of Brand South Australia in its work managing the State Brand and running a range of programs, including the successful I Choose SA program, delivering millions of dollars of value to South Australia every year and supporting local jobs;
3. Notes the decision of the Marshall Liberal government to cut funding to Brand South Australia, resulting in Brand South Australia having to cease operations as at 30 June 2019; and
4. Calls on the Marshall Liberal Government to immediately reinstate its funding to enable Brand South Australia to continue its valuable work.
South Australians love to support their fellow South Australians and South Australian businesses. We are proud of our state and what South Australia stands for, and we are proud of our people and their achievements.
This sentiment was very clearly demonstrated when South Australians rallied to help Spring Gully Foods, a family-owned and operated South Australian company, when they were struggling financially in 2013. After an impassioned plea from the company for South Australians to support them, South Australians responded en masse, purchasing Spring Gully products, which enabled the company to keep going. In fact, products walked off the shelves and you had trouble buying pickles and other products for some weeks.
You can call it pride or you can call it parochialism, but it is one of the reasons that Brand South Australia and, in particular, its I Choose SA campaign has worked well. The State Brand was launched in 2013, the same year that South Australians rallied to help Spring Gully Foods. However, the original positive voice and message for our state goes back further, including back to 1984 with the SA Great campaign and Brand South Australia evolved from that.
Brand South Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to positively position South Australia and forge a prosperous future for our state. It employs 16 staff and delivers a range of campaigns, programs and initiatives. The two main programs are the State Brand, which South Australian businesses, community groups and sole traders are encouraged to use and the I Choose SA program, where South Australians are encouraged to choose local businesses and where key industries within our state are showcased.
In addition to these two programs, Brand South Australia provides businesses with access to a wide variety of events and networking opportunities. It also partners with government agencies and other organisations to deliver three annual programs: the Regional Showcase, the Fast Movers Award and Entrepreneurs Week, plus it manages the I Choose SA shop.
In addition to 7,000 South Australian businesses, Brand South Australia has 280,000 people on its database with whom it regularly communicates to promote South Australia. This includes 10,000 people living overseas as part of its Hello from SA program.
Brand South Australia encourages all South Australians to choose SA. By enabling South Australians to know which businesses are South Australian owned, South Australians can choose to actively support these businesses by buying local, which in turn supports local jobs and boosts our state's economy. That is why it is so disappointing that the Marshall Liberal government has decided to strip Brand South Australia of its annual funding, which means the organisation will cease operations as of 30 June this year.
My understanding is that, after numerous approaches to government by Brand South Australia to secure funding beyond 30 June, the Brand South Australia board resolved to write to Premier Steven Marshall to seek a decision as to their future beyond this date, as it was in jeopardy. The letter was sent on 13 May and a reply from the Premier was received on 16 May, advising that the funding would end at 30 June.
The Greens believe that this is a short-sighted and ill-advised decision that will have a detrimental effect on South Australian businesses. We believe that Brand South Australia, being an independent, not-for-profit organisation, is best placed to manage the state brand and the I Choose SA programs, and that it should continue to be funded to continue this important work.
The Greens are calling on the Marshall Liberal government to immediately reinstate the annual funding of $1 million per annum plus $550,000 for the I Choose SA campaign to Brand South Australia so they can continue to operate and continue to encourage all South Australians to choose SA.
I commend the motion to the council.