Delegation Trip to Adelaide, March 2016

09.03.2016 Homepage

At the beginning of March, the German-Australian Chamber was privileged to facilitate a three-day delegation trip to Adelaide, highlighting South Australia’s growing status in scientific research and unique role as the “defence state”. South Australia has one of the largest manufacturing and defence industries in the country and happens to have the only state government with a dedicated Minister for Defence Industries. In particular, Adelaide is home to a large proportion of Australia’s defence sector, which contributes more than $1 billion to South Australia’s Gross State Product. For further context, of all the defence companies in Australia, 72 per cent are located in Adelaide. In light of all of this, delegates and guests were treated to an engaging, extensive programme with high-profile speakers and presenters.

The trip began on Tuesday, 1 March, as the delegates were welcomed at the Mayfair Hotel, where they would be based for the three days. Treated to a three-course dinner, the delegates were given the opportunity to take in their surroundings, get to know each other and discuss the overall intentions and goals of the state visit as well as the involvement of their businesses in aforementioned developments.

The next day, planned activities began early with a board meeting in the Hotel Mayfair’s Topaz Room and transport of delegates to the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). SAHMRI is the state’s first independent health and medical research institute and is located in the new Health and Biomedical Precinct. Altogether, SAMHRI hosts 600 South Australian, interstate and international researchers. Delegates were given a detailed presentation of the planned 2016 opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital with its impressive application of digital innovations, along with insights into collaboration and innovation in South Australian research.

Following this informative visit, the delegates were transported to Jolley’s Boathouse Restaurant, a well-known, award-winning Adelaide establishment with beautiful views over the river Torrens. The venue hosted a special business lunch with The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia. All present were treated to reception drinks, delicious meals including dessert and coffee. During the presentation component, opening words were given by Mr Marcus Lojszczyk, Partner of PwC Adelaide, the exclusive Event Partner for this lunch. Premier Weatherill, who was invited to take the stage next, shared his vision for future economic growth in South Australia, highlighting important industries such as defence and advanced manufacturing. Overall, Premier Weatherill signalled the importance of collaboration between the defence industry and research institutions, calling for even more innovation. Flowing on from the Premier’s presentation, all delegates were invited to participate in a Q&A, which facilitated further engaging discussion about South Australian industry, research and innovation.

Later in the afternoon, equipped with a deeper knowledge and understanding of South Australian industry, the delegates were given a tour of Tonsley Park, Australia’s first innovation district. The park combines research, industry, education and residential spaces, bringing together leading institutions, start-ups and business. Delegates were given an exclusive look at the Flinders University Building, TAFE building as well as a detailed tour of the Siemens Service Centre. Altogether, the park addresses the four focus areas of renewable energy; software and simulation; mining and energy services; and health, medical devices and assistive technologies. Delegates were impressed by the scale of Tonsley Park, and this was a perfect way to end the official part of the day. 

The evening was then used to enjoy a somewhat more relaxing, yet equally important segment of the Adelaide trip: a tour of Longview Vineyard in Adelaide Hills. South Australia has always been famous for its wine-making (in part at least because of the contributions of German migrants), and Longview Vineyard is an example of a successful, family-owned Australian business. For the delegates, the tour included a special wine tasting. While the region is known generally for its white wines, delegates were also treated to some of the vineyard’s award-winning reds as well.

Following a packed first day, all the delegates were ready to push on early on Thursday to transfer to Techport Australia. Techport is the nation’s premier naval industry hub and is the base for two major, long-term defence projects, including the Collins class submarine fleet and advanced construction of air warfare destroyers. Furthermore, the port will host construction of the Future Submarine programme and Future Frigate fleet. All in all, Techport Australia is a crucial element of South Australian industry in the present and for the future. 

The visit started off with a competent introduction by delegation member Philip Stanford, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia, himself a former commander of Collins class submarines. He was followed by the Hon. Martin Hamilton-Smith MP. Mr Smith, Minister for Investment and Trade, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Defence Industries, who passionately talked about Germany’s outstanding capabilities in technology and advanced manufacturing, and the benefits that long-term German investments in South Australia would bring. The day then continued with and extensive tour of the facilities, covering the Techport Australia Common User Facility and Australian Submarine Corporation’s (ASC) South Shipyard and North Submarine Facility. With a fantastic overview of the precinct’s capabilities, the tour ended with a light on-site lunch.

After the visit to Techport Australia, the delegates moved onto the last segment of the trip, Rheinmetall Simulation Australia (RSA). All were welcomed by Mr Andrew Fletcher, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia, a valued Executive Member of the German-Australian Chamber. Mr Fletcher was followed by Mr Tim Pickford, General Manager Business Development, who briefed the delegates about the organisation’s South Australian operations and its significance as a local technology provider. The rest of the visit included presentations and a display of RSA’s simulation products and technology by Mr John Dawson, Head of Business Development for Simulation. Rheinmetall’s operations in Australia are indeed broad, with not only business activities in Adelaide, but also a basis in Canberra and further facilities in Melbourne and regional Queensland.

With the entire trip to Adelaide completed on 3 March, the delegates were transported by shuttle to Adelaide Airport for their flights back home.

From the Chamber’s perspective, the delegation trip to Adelaide was a great success. We are extremely grateful for the kind support of our three project partners, Tonsley Park, Rheinmetall Defence and Techport Australia. We also give our heartfelt thanks to keynote speakers The Hon. Premier Jay Weatherill MP, The Hon. Martin Hamilton-Smith MP and Mr Marcus Lojszczyk, Partner of PwC Adelaide, and to PwC for supporting the Premier’s lunch. The involvement of all of these parties was integral to the success of the trip, and provided a fantastic, detailed insight into the expanding role of South Australia as a hub for innovation and industry-research collaboration, and the resulting opportunities for German businesses. 

Finally, thank you to all the delegates who participated in the trip. We hope you found it to be a worthwhile and informative journey that will help you with doing business in South Australia going forward. We at the Chamber are very satisfied with what was achieved through the collaboration with so many engaged parties, and look forward to future delegation opportunities. 

Jessica Brendel, Manager Events & Training
Lars Mehlan, Director Marketing & Events