Tuesday, 30 May 2023

AusCham Hong Kong

I am very pleased to be with you this morning during my first visit to Hong Kong in my capacity as Governor of South Australia.

South Australia shares a special relationship with Hong Kong, underpinned by strong trade and investment, a shared commitment to addressing global climate challenges, and people-to-people links, fostered largely by our international students.

My visit to Hong Kong has a personal as well as a professional significance.

As you have heard, Hong Kong was my first diplomatic posting in the late 1980s, during the early years of China’s reform and opening, and I have always felt a fond connection with this city, not least because my husband and I met and were married here.

We’ll be celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary on 9 June, the same day Austcham will be celebrating its 35th anniversary.

I well remember its formation in 1988 shortly after Australia’s bicentenary celebration.

I was with you for your 25th anniversary in my former role as Australia’s Ambassador to China.

Today, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk you, with a Hong Kong focus, about the South Australian Government’s economic priorities and potential investment opportunities.

Hong Kong is the 20th largest destination market for South Australian exports, valued at around quarter of a billion dollars in March this year.

There’s clearly scope for growth there.

Aside from international education, which I will touch on in a moment, South Australia is best known in Hong Kong for our much enjoyed food and wine.

When we think of South Australia, we think of its premium wine growing regions, from the sun-drenched plains of the Coonawarra to the history and tradition of the Barossa, to McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills regions, both within a 45 minute drive of the city.

South Australia is uniquely positioned to the be the natural wine supplier to Hong Kong and the broader region.

South Australia’s wine makers are adapting to climate change, the imperative for sustainability, and have been diversifying their markets.

Last year, my government launched the South Australian Wine Ambassadors Club, an exclusive network of leading wine importers to grow new-to-market distribution, sales and category presence over the next few years.

The club now has 27 inaugural ambassadors located across South Australia’s priority markets, including Hong Kong.

Earlier this month, seven Hong Kong Wine Ambassadors visited South Australia on their very first 4-day familiarisation visit to the state, enjoying unique experiences across our wine regions.

South Australia is eager to support the global importing community, including right here in Hong Kong, and of course, to encourage Hong Kongers to visit South Australia to experience our produce right at the farm gate, and while they are there, to enjoy the rich cultural life of South Australia.

Perhaps less well known is the length, and extent of engagement between South Australia, the Festival State, and Hong Kong’s thriving cultural community.

I was pleased to meet the Chairman and CEO of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council yesterday to discuss our future collaboration, including through Adelaide’s annual OzAsia festival.

South Australia has a long history of welcoming international students.

As patron of StudyAdelaide, I am proud of South Australia’s international education sector and pleased by the growing number of international students choosing South Australia as their study destination as a result.

Hong Kong traditionally is a very strong student market for South Australia, ranking fifth largest with over 2,000 international student enrolments in 2022.

There is a genuine commitment from South Australia to engage with Hong Kong and supporting Hong Kong students to achieve their education and future career goals.

I had the pleasure of meeting parents of Hong Kong students studying in South Australia yesterday, many of whom told me just how rewarding South Australia’s education offering has been for their children.

Importantly, just as the international education sector is a significant contributor to South Australia’s economy and enriches our community, Hong Kong benefits from the result.

South Australian graduates I have met during my program here are high-quality, outcomes-orientated, open-minded problem solvers who excel in every facet of Hong Kong’s economy, whether this is in roles supporting Hong Kong’s international financial centre, as academics, CEOs, business people, or leaders in the cultural sector.

South Australia and Hong Kong also have a shared commitment to tackling global climate challenges. And Hong Kong investors in South Australia, including some like CKI who have made long term commitments to the state, are playing an important role in engaging with our important decarbonisation agenda.

Our state is a global leader in clean energy, having transformed its energy system from 1% to more than 70% variable renewable energy in just over 15 years.

The state is forecast to achieve 85% variable renewable energy mix by 2025-26, and 100% by 2030.

Impressively, in 2021, South Australia met 100% of its operational demand from renewable resources on 180 days.

The South Australian Government is making a once-in-a-generation investment to leverage the State’s abundant renewable wind and solar resources with a view to become a global leader in green hydrogen and green minerals.

Under the government’s Hydrogen Jobs Plan, the government will deliver significant hydrogen infrastructure by 2025 comprised of 250 megawatts of electrolysers, 200 megawatts of hydrogen-fuelled power generation, and a hydrogen storage facility, through committed capital funding of $593 million.

The Plan places South Australia on the hydrogen map internationally, providing first mover advantage and presenting industry development, hydrogen supply chain and hydrogen export opportunities.

South Australia’s renewables sector is not merely confined to hydrogen.

South Australia has around 90 publicly announced large-scale renewable energy projects, including more than 30 operational projects and more than 55 projects in the pipeline.

A few points to note:

  • South Australia has world class wind resources, with 23 wind farms in operation. Wind generated over 44% of South Australia’s electricity in 2021-22, the highest percentage share of any Australian state or territory;
  • South Australia has one of the best climates for solar, with five large scale solar farms and one of the highest per capita levels of rooftop solar installed anywhere in the world. Solar PV generated over 16% of South Australia’s electricity in 2021–22;
  • South Australia has the highest uptake of residential batteries in Australia and has four grid-scale batteries, headlined by the world-renowned 150MW Hornsdale “Big Battery” Power Reserve built in 2017 and expanded in 2019.


I conclude this morning with a sincere thank you for your continued support of South Australia and South Australian businesses.

I wish you all well and look forward to welcoming many of you to South Australia soon.

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