Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Playford Trust Reception

Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to celebrate the 40th anniversary – to the day – that the Playford Memorial Trust Deed was executed between the then Premier, the Hon John Bannon, and the 12 Trustees.

As you all know, the initial chair was businessman and Legislative Councillor, the Hon Don Laidlaw and today, his eldest daughter the Hon Dr Diana Laidlaw, serves as the current chair.

I also note with some pride that the second chair of the Playford Trust, was the Hon Jennifer Cashmore, my mother. This is the first time she has attended a reception at Government House and this speaks both to her regard for the Trust’s work and for you all.

Throughout this early period of the Trust’s history, the Hon Des Corcoran, former Labor Premier was Deputy Chair. Des’ father, Jim, served with Tom Playford in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I.

It was wonderful to hear Bill Nankivell recalling as he arrived this evening serving in Parliament with Playford.

Today we are marking a significant milestone in the history of the Trust – 40 years of bipartisan support to enable high-achieving South Australian students to study and contribute to strategic areas that advance the interests of our state.

As Governor and a former public servant, I note that bipartisanship, hard to achieve though it may be, is often at the heart of some of the most valuable and enduring endeavours.

The Trust’s namesake, Sir Thomas Playford, our longest serving Premier, was a leader who transformed our economy with his vision for industrialisation and dogged determination to get things done for the good of South Australia - a Benevolent Despot, as my stepfather Stewart Cockburn’s book described him.

We now now forge our prosperity not only through our traditional strengths in agriculture, acquaculture, resources, wine, the arts, education, and community services but also by leveraging significant opportunities in defence, cyber and space industries, renewable energy, water, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and medical research.

The Playford Trust is investing in that future by investing in our bright students and young researchers.

The Trust is opening doors for them, connecting them to industry, nurturing them into roles that our State needs, and in turn providing us with new ideas and expertise that comes with new thinking.

As Rod and I travel across South Australia, we have been impressed by the many world-class enterprises and research undertakings that are demonstrating forward thinking and innovation and contributing to our State.

Let me mention a few which are demonstrating the type of innovation that puts South Australia at the forefront of development:

Peats Soils has developed the BiobiN in response to the growing need to recycle the large amounts of organic and wet materials being sent to landfill and reducing the production of methane;

The Vena Energy solar energy farm near Tailem Bend is capable of powering 35,000 homes with renewable energy;

Sundrop Farms at Port Augusta is integrating solar power, electricity generation, freshwater conservation, climate control and greenhouse hydroponics to produce premium tomatoes 24/7;

At Lot 14, on North Terrace, and at Beverly, Fleet Space Technologies is at the centre of Australia’s rapidly growing space industry;

SAHMRI at the other end of North Terrace is at the heart of the Adelaide BioMed City – the largest health and medical research precinct in the Southern Hemisphere;

And the TAFE SA campus at Tonsley is part of the State’s push to build our future workforce.

Similarly, as I have travelled overseas as Governor promoting trade and investment opportunities, I have found great interest in South Australia and our optimism for the future.

These are good stories about our State’s achievements that we should be bold in telling.


I congratulate the board past and present on its stewardship of the Playford Trust in meeting our State’s needs and aspirations.

Just last year alone, the Playford Trust awarded 76 scholarships and awards to the value of $700,000.

Over the past decade, more than 600 students have been supported and since 2010, $4.5 million in financial support has been awarded.

This has been, and will continue to be, an important contribution to our State’s strengths and means to prosperity.

Congratulations on the 40th anniversary and I wish the Playford Trust well for the next 40 years and beyond.

Coming events