Adelaide-cityDuring Entrepreneur Week held in Adelaide the much repeated cry could be heard from entrepreneurs. Their frustration was that Adelaide and South Australia is slipping woefully behind the rest of other states and continues to adopt an ultra-conservative attitude to change.

Having been old enough to remember the teachings of Professor Julius Sumner Miller on his regular television appearances in Australia, it got me pondering his famous catchphrase “Why is it so”? Hopefully having worked and resided in the state for the best part of fifteen years I can consider myself suitably qualified to comment on this matter.

Arriving from Perth all those years ago I was warned and counselled by friends about the folly of setting up here, saying it was a backwater, not fitting into my profile and character. To be honest in those early days I found that an element of what they had said to be true, relationships were difficult to forge mainly reliant on one’s academic history. Anyone who knows anything about me would know that was never be an impediment for very long but I can fully understand how others may feel. Contrary to popular belief Adelaide is not an easy place to integrate into, you really have to work at it.

Through the years I have watched as several major events have taken place which in other states would be welcomed with open arms, seemingly not in Adelaide, for instance when the new airport was delayed for a few weeks due to fuel supply problems there was such an outcry as if our world was coming to an end (it was later to be classified as one of the world’s best airports). More recently when the Adelaide Oval was been redeveloped a well-known city councillor fought to have it delayed as she opted to fight the removal of several  trees, I think the evidence of its success is there for all to see. Currently the building of a new Royal Adelaide Hospital has caused the ire of many who believe the existing building is still adequate for our needs, which it is plainly not the truth and the same argument applies to the Repatriation Hospital due for demolition where the acceptance of the facts is clouded by sentiment and media pressure. The extension of the Oban is seen as major inconvenience rather that attempting to build a more liveable city for its residents.

As for good measure only last week  In (Entrepreneur’s week) the state’s shadow education minister decried the development of the city’s T.A.F.E. Tonsley campus not being utilised, obviously trying to gain political capital, it does not further our projection of South Australia as a progressive state one iota.

One could argue most of opposition is aimed at protecting the state’s heritage and legacy but the balance between this protection and moving forward seems to be out of proportion used as a means of maintaining the status quo for sections of the population.

The existence of a one city newspaper aids and abets in maintaining this continuing need to feed the public a diet of negative stories designed to ensure the public are in a permanent state of anger and fear. That is not to say we have a number of serious issues we are currently grappling with but we need to establish some balance.

It seems that Adelaide has always had a strong tradition of talkback radio which has been further exploited the opportunity for citizens to complain what is bad about the state rather than promote the many good things that are happening., one would hope we can see an improvement from our younger inhabitants. The notion we can never arise out of just being considered a large sleepy country town which is clearly nonsense, although there are many who honestly believe it should stay that way for ever. If this is the case then we are in for some really difficult times ahead.

Ask yourself this question if you were an investor would you be prepared to sink your funds into such an environment where there is a constant negative aura about who we are?

The reality is there are many different and exciting efforts are being made to secure our future instead we display to others a landscape of hopelessness including messages from senior sources that do us no credit at all. This has implanted an extremely damaging environment that seems to have overtaken our daily lives.

So where does this problem lie, well the easy answer to that question is simply to blame politicians this is only partly true, it is much wider and deeper than that, it is a generational problem.

As part of a generation that has performed and lived in mainly good economic times the reality is our time in the workforce is almost concluded, the witching hour is only 6.5 years away (2023) although there will be exceptions to this.

The changes we have encountered in a relatively short period (10-20 years) have been destabilising to the already conservative structures we have once known in South Australia including the transition from our once dominated manufacturing industries to a more service orientated sector has been dramatic. Add this a vastly altered global outlook and one can begin to understand why this turbulence is occurring. It would be safe to say  parts of my generation has not taken well to this rapidly changing environment and we are seeing some fierce resistance.

The six and a half years of which I mentioned earlier will continue to be a very interesting time with many further changes to emerge how we live and work. This may sound a little trite but unless will adapt a new outlook we will continue to be looked upon as the sick state in Australia. Unfortunately the vehicle we need to create confidence and pride has to date not emerged and it will take many more people in our community to step forward before we can shake off this unwanted tag.

As with every story there can a more positive side of the equation. From my recent personal professional experiences I am sensing some very innovative and clever people amongst us which if given the right sort of encouragement and support can lift this state from the image we have self-perpetrated.

What is for certain I can confidently predict there will be no retention of the status quo enjoyed in times gone by, here in one of the most beautiful places in the world. A decision to reside here over fifteen years ago I have never regretted.

Ken Wood

People /Engagement Specialist

Banyan Management Services Pty Ltd


Mob: 0408811799

13th July 2016

PS in posting this view I can assure readers I have no political allegiances to any side. This has been written in the spirit of supporting people in our state not in some tirade but those who want to see South Australia succeed.


News Flash

If anyone has similar views to the one’s expressed in this post please advise me and I will try and organise some kind of gathering or rally to celebrate our state and its future.There would be no political input in such an event.

“Sometimes we need to step forward and commit to change”