Recognition for rural and regional young leaders
With the 40 Under 40 Awards gala just weeks away, Business SA’s Elisa Pecorelli says regional businesses and young leaders play a vital role in the state’s economy.
Inventor and Kangaroo Island farmer Dr Nick Berry won the InDaily 40 Under 40 Rural and Regional Award in 2021 for establishing the Seed Terminator and exporting it around the world.
Business SA general manager programs and consulting Elisa Pecorelli was on the judging panel for this year’s InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards.
She said the nominees for the Rural and Regional Award demonstrated a “real connectedness to regional South Australia”.
“I have seen some impressive achievements in the positive impact nominees have had on increasing employment and opportunities within the regions,” Pecorelli said.
“They have taken risks, had setbacks and been very challenged along the way, but they have all shown resilience, dealt with the challenges and learnt from their experiences.”
Business SA sponsors the Rural and Regional Award and Pecorelli emphasised that it was important to recognise the young leaders in the the regions.
“Regional businesses play a vital role in South Australia’s economy,” she said.
“Their contribution, particularly in industries like agriculture, tourism and mining, is invaluable in both domestic and international markets.
“I think the COVID pandemic really put a spotlight on what regional South Australia has to offer.”
The strong demand for intrastate holidays has brought regional food, wine and tourism experiences to the fore, and Pecorelli said “the word is out”.
“The regions are abuzz with new and innovative offerings,” she said.
Pecorelli said the majority of Business SA’s policy and advocacy work is done for the benefit of all businesses in the state, regardless of location.
“We have provided submissions to a range of inquiries and on multiple bills to protect the business community from overly restrictive or costly changes to legislation,” she said.
“The main areas of recent focus have included workers compensation, public holidays, education, immigration, energy, and industrial relations, state and federal.”
Business SA is currently working in partnership with several regional councils and local chambers of commerce to offer a range of products and services designed to help businesses.
These include online learning programs, work health and safety advice, industrial relations matters, business growth support and mental health and wellbeing advice.
She said the skills and labour shortage, and the related housing shortage, were major issues in the regions.
“Recent statistics show this does not look to improve any time soon,” she said.
“We reference this often in our meetings with key members of parliament and other decision makers to ensure it stays front of mind for them.
“Further, we are also aware of increased cost pressures of many regional businesses due to transport and supply chain issues.”
Pecorelli said Business SA is currently advocating for a discount in payroll tax for the regions.
“For some time now Business SA has called on the State Government to introduce a 50 per cent payroll tax discount for businesses in regional South Australia,” she said.
“Business SA believes that reducing the payroll tax rate in regional South Australia, as is commonplace in other states, would incentivise businesses to move to the regions, thereby stimulating and diversifying those economies.”
Victoria provides a 75 per cent regional discount on payroll tax, reducing it from 4.85 per cent to just 1.21 per cent.
While Queensland provides a full 1 per cent regional discount, delivering its regional areas a maximum payroll tax of 2.95 per cent.
In South Australia, where payroll tax is up to 4.95 per cent, the rate of 1.21 per cent applies to an annual wage bill of $1,549,000. While there are exemptions, this is equivalent to around 16 full-time employees.
“[Halving the tax] would also improve [each region’s] competitiveness compared to interstate regional counterparts,” said Pecorelli.
The winner of the Rural and Regional Award will be announced at the InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards on June 8 at Adelaide Oval.
This not to be missed event will include special guest Australian of the Year Taryn Brumfitt.
Tickets for the gala awards night are $191.90 for individuals and $1801.35 for tables of 10 (including booking fee) and include a three-course meal paired with premium South Australian wines.