The exodus of young people from South Australia and the subsequent “brain drain” must be a focus of the state’s major political parties, Business SA says.
The organisation has launched its advertising campaign for the March state election, focusing on what is says is a desperate need to grow South Australia’s population.
Chief executive Nigel McBride says SA has had the slowest population growth of the mainland states over the past 15 years and the highest median age.
“Our young people are leaving the state by the truckload because we don’t have the jobs and corporate opportunities to keep them here,” Mr McBride said.
He said South Australia could get more international companies to establish their Australian headquarters in Adelaide by highlighting the city’s fast internet speeds, affordable housing and short commuting times.
“If we could provide job opportunities as well, we’d have a fighting chance of keeping our graduates and lifting the state’s IQ,” Mr McBride said.
Business SA wants the incoming state government to set an annual 1.5 per cent population growth target and support South Australia’s status as a regional area for employer-sponsored visas.
It also wants a new business start-up visa created to retain international students and payroll tax incentives for businesses to hire science, technology, engineering and maths graduates.