Leitech australia visit with minister

Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:17): My question is to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Can the minister explain to the house how the government is working with local companies such as Leitech Australia that provide innovative energy technology solutions that help to reduce carbon emissions, grow their businesses, and create jobs?

The Hon. S.J.R. PATTERSON (Morphett—Minister for Trade and Investment) (15:17): I thank the member for Waite for his question. The member for Waite meets many local businesses and wrote to me, as the Minister for Trade and Investment, and said that this was a really good local business he had the chance to meet with personally, and invited me to go and see their manufacturing factory.

It was great to join the member for Waite there as well as Leitech's director, Simon Hornsey, who is a constituent of Waite—which is, of course, how they made the initial introduction—and who showed us around the facility. The business itself was established in 2015, a small family business, and manufactures LED lighting. These LED lights help businesses to reduce their energy costs by being much more energy-efficient than older style lights, and that is a big opportunity for Leitech. They also look at power factor correction units as well as solar systems.

Energy efficiency is not the only way businesses such as Leitech can reduce their energy costs. Just bringing down the actual cost of energy is also very important, and that is why it was great news on Monday this week when Project EnergyConnect was given the green light. That was fantastic news, and it provides great opportunities for further renewable energy investment here in South Australia.

We have already seen the lowest wholesale prices in the nation here in South Australia: in fact, future price contracts as well are the lowest in the country, as AEMO reported in its latest quarterly survey, and that will further reduce costs. Already the average household is saving $269 per year, and it is even more for businesses, because many of those businesses are using energy in greater quantities than households.

So that's great news. It is also going to bring out further investment into this state—potentially 16.4 gigawatts of generation capacity into South Australia worth $15 billion. This is fantastic. That will help stabilise energy prices, give more confidence to businesses here and, of course, allow them to reduce their energy prices.

Leitech themselves, as I said, are building LED lights here. At the moment, they have set themselves a target of 20 per cent of their product mix to be sourced locally. That was set in 2019, but of course with all the supply chain disruptions that have occurred because of COVID, a lack of international travel has really caused them to re-look at what their supply chains are to see if they can manufacture even further in South Australia.

That was the great news that they were able to provide the member for Waite and myself. They are really keen on looking at that. They are looking to produce potentially 80 per cent as a target for product mix to be manufactured here in SA, which is fantastic news. They are looking to do that towards the end of 2022. How are they going to do that? There are labour costs in other countries in cheap labour. That's one of the reasons why things are done offshore.

What we are finding more and more is that if companies invest in their plant and equipment here, advanced plant and equipment, they can reduce their cost base significantly and allow them to compete for manufacturing here in Australia with those cheaper labour force countries. So that's great news for South Australian businesses and great news for people looking for jobs as well, because as more businesses are stood up here, such as Leitech, we will be able to create more jobs here in South Australia.
Thank you, member for Waite, for the invite. That was really well appreciated. I look forward to working with more companies like Leitech to see them grow their business here in South Australia.