Networking, looking local, encouraging business and tourism growth and developing a brand for the region were the focus of the most recent business breakfast held at Mallala Motorsport Park last month.
Around 30 people attended the event on Wednesday April 21, which was facilitated by the Adelaide Plains Business Advisory Group (APBAG), supported by the Adelaide Plains Council and featured The Bend Motorsport Park’s general manager, Mark Warren as guest speaker, who outlined plans to revitalise the iconic motorsport park at Mallala.
After a much appreciated breakfast of bacon and egg rolls, fruit, tea and coffee, APBAG chairman, Ian O’Loan, opened proceedings.
Mr O’Loan outlined the goals and direction of the APBAG, saying the area needed its own brand.
“One of the goals of the APBAG is, in conjunction with RDA (Regional Development Australia), to develop a brand,” he said.
“We need our own stand-alone brand.
“We need to be putting ourselves forward as a place to be, and the products from here can be part of that.”
Mr O’Loan highlighted the success of the Perfection tomato enterprise at Two Wells, and suggested cheaper access to the state government’s Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS) was essential to encourage business growth, particularly in the horticulture and agriculture areas, within the region.
“The state government has honestly misled the people of the Adelaide Plains with regards to the NAIS scheme,” Mr O’Loan said.
Water is now available from a purpose-built dam on Porter Road, Korunye, as part of the scheme but Mr O’Loan stated it is sub-standard in quality and way too expensive.
“That water is available; if you’ve got $300,000 to connect to it,” he said.
“The other problem is that the quality of the water is, in horticultural terms, 1300 parts per million and this is not acceptable.
“Unless you have got the facilities….to desalinate the water, you cannot use it.
“And if you are going to try and use this water it is 81 cents per kilolitre ammitised over a 15-year period of your agreement.”
Mr O’Loan said the APBAG, through representation in the Northern Adelaide Plains Food Cluster’s NAIS Advisory Committee had been lobbying the state government for improvements to no avail.
“We have been negotiating, not successfully, with Minister Speirs, to get a reasonable price for the water and quality,” he said.
“We are at a Mexican standoff at the moment and getting absolutely nowhere.
“Honestly, if we cannot get a reasonable price for connectivity, and quality of water, that lagoon out there (Porter Dam) is a white elephant.
“We have heaps of people who would like to get on board and literally can’t afford it.”
Mr O’Loan moved on to say the region provided many positive areas for future business growth including horticulture, agriculture, tourism and the equine industry.
He said the business breakfast was a positive way for local business owners to build their networks, meet new people and have conversations around business and industry growth.
“At the end of the presentation people stayed around and networked and that is what this business breakfast is all about,” he said.
“We can all learn from each other and this is the purpose of these gatherings.”