SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Thank you very much, Dermott, for that welcome. Ladies and gentlemen, good morning it is a delight to be with you with you all here today and to be with you here on my fifth day as the Federal Minister for Education and Training and my first outing here in my home state, my electorate of South Australia and it is especially wonderful to be able to be here and to have this first outing here in the Playford Alive Development in the City of Playford, just within a stone’s throw of where I grew up, Anglevale Primary School over that way, Gawler High School over there; not very far away. This is a community that I grew up in, admittedly, much of what is nearby and much of what we are standing on today, of course, was simply farming and grazing property in the days when I was growing up, but it is a community that I have an understanding of and an affinity for and a passion to see succeed in the future. 

Ladies and gentlemen, can I acknowledge the Premier and his colleagues who are here today and I particularly note John Dawkins from the State Upper House and my Parliamentary colleagues and my good friend and colleague Senator Sean Edwards, my colleague and occasionally sparring partner Nick Champion, the former Governor and Chancellor, more importantly to me nowadays, of the University of Adelaide, Kevin Scarce and, of course, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Warren Bebbington. A particular welcome to Local Government figures and none more so than Mayor Glenn Docherty, the Mayor of the City of Playford, in whom we owe great debt for the effort that he has made to deliver this facility, to see it through from a funding application, from a mere concept, to the reality that we are standing here today and what a wonderful building it is. It is a building of great architectural presence, it is a building of great style and flair, it is a building of great innovation and just walking around before you can see the thought that has gone in to the construct of it, the symbolism of such a modern and exciting building, but far more important than what the building is will, of course, be what actually happens in this building in the weeks, months and years to come.

It’s been a big week in Canberra, as you all know. We have a new Prime Minister and in that new Prime Minister, in Malcolm Turnbull we have a leader who wants to make sure that Australia grasps and seizes the opportunities that global change presents for Australia. We have a Prime Minister who wants to ensure that those opportunities, as we see new technologies evolve, new industries emerge, are opportunities that Australia is at the forefront of seizing. In doing that, we have to recognise that we move with changing times, that old jobs and old industries will go by the wayside and we must embrace innovation and technology and change to make sure that new jobs and new business and new industries are developed. In this centre a facility exists that not only enables that interaction between innovative researchers and thinkers and institutions like the University of Adelaide to sit down with business and industry leaders, but it enables that to occur with high technology resources, strong connectivity to the internet, the latest technological equipment available all at the hands and fingertips of researchers and entrepreneurs and business people to work together and to create new jobs. 

It is, of course, especially critical that it occurs here in the city of Playford at the forefront of Australia’s challenges in adapting to some of that global change because there is no point in us simply pretending that it is an easy change and right here, where we know unemployment challenges are real and youth unemployment challenges are serious and we know some of those challenges will only become more profound as we see some industries leave in the years ahead, we must embrace the opportunities to inspire new advanced manufacturing industries to grow to leverage off the defence, science and research capabilities that this region has long been renowned for and can achieve so much more in in the future. 

In the future, as we see delivery of a continuous shipbuilding strategy for Australia, as we see future decisions around submarines, the challenge will not just be about how we deliver those projects, but most importantly it will be about how we leverage off of those projects to ensure that local businesses don’t just win work, but use that work to do new and greater things, to develop new technologies and to export and win work right around the world. The exciting elements of this week’s re-shaping of the Federal Government, and not just my appointment as the Minister for Education and Training, although that was quite exciting for my Mum, but the exciting elements from a South Australian perspective are yes, we’ve got an extra voice in the Federal Cabinet, but Christopher Pyne’s appointment as the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science means that he will be at the forefront of that leveraging, of seizing those opportunities for how it is that we take new technologies and new industries, that we build off things like a continuous shipbuilding strategy and actually help Australian businesses to innovate and grow in those spaces. 

Complimentary to that, Jamie Briggs, our fellow South Australian Minister’s appointment in to the space as Minister for Cities is again, highlighted by a development just like this one where we are trying to create work and opportunities closer to where people are living, where communities are expanding because we know that in creating those environments for people to work and earn and live closer to their homes, they have then more time with family, more time to learn, more time to research, more time to enjoy life and that, of course, is so very critical as well. 

So congratulations, Glenn to you and all of the team at the City of Playford, for the work that you have done in relation to developing this research facility, this hub for economic activity. It is a credit to all of you and it is an absolute pleasure for me to be here as a Senator for South Australia and as our new Minister for Education and Training to open this facility today, thank you so very much.