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Global heavy hitters called in to lure investors Down Under

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South Australian government appoints big names to help drive economy

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One of Wall Street’s most powerful women has joined a board to help attract investment in her home state on the other side of the world.

JP Morgan’s Managing Director and Global Head of Technology, Media & Telecom Jennifer Nason is among several high-profile global executives to take a position on the inaugural advisory board of Investment Attraction South Australia.

Nason, who was born and raised in the South Australian capital Adelaide, will bring a wealth of international business experience and expertise to the agency, which was launched last year to help transform the small state’s struggling economy.

South Australia has a population of about 1.7 million and has previously relied on traditional industries such as manufacturing, mining and agriculture to drive its economy.

But an end to car manufacturing in Australia and a downturn in the mining and resources sector has forced the state to look to innovative high value and knowledge-based industries to secure its future.

Nason, who is also the Chair of the American Australian Association, is joined on the advisory board by London-based business executive and Adelaide-based lawyer Judith Griggs.

Griggs graduated in law from the University of Adelaide and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School via the Advanced Management Program.

She was the first CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation in Melbourne.

Former Australian Ambassador to China Geoff Raby and London-based Agent General for South Australia Bill Muirhead are among other international heavy hitters on the new board.

South Australian Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the main types of investment the agency aimed to attract to the state were from existing South Australian or national businesses looking to significantly expand and from international investors to help fund major projects such as mining infrastructure or tourism developments.

“That’s where a board with international reach can be very helpful because the board can tell us where the investment money is located around the world and how it might be best accessed,” Hamilton-Smith said.

“Europe and America are our biggest sources of foreign investment and that’s why people like Jennifer Nason based in New York are important to us and then we’ve got Bill Muirhead and Judith Griggs in London who know the European market extremely well and Geoff Raby who knows all of the principle players in China.

“We are thinking outside the square – that’s the whole idea behind the Investment Attraction Agency.”

Since it began in October, eight companies have been provided assistance to come to or expand in South Australia.

This has led to more than $890 million worth of investment projects, which will create more than 3300 direct and associated jobs.

Patrick Robinson, the senior advisor for investment growth at Adelaide City Council, said Adelaide City Council will work with the Investment Attraction agency closely to realize the enormous scope for new development, infrastructure and services in Adelaide.

“Adelaide offers extensive investment potential and is consistently recognised as one of the most affordable capital cities to live and do business in Australia,” said Robinson.

“Adelaide City Council will work closely with the Investment Attraction Agency to support investors to access established and emerging networks, accommodate political and business relationships, inform about property solutions and provide links to relevant grants, sponsorships and incentives.”

Minister Hamilton-Smith said Investment Attraction South Australia would also lead a complete strategic rethink about the state’s economic strengths and weaknesses “to see if we can create an industry almost out of nowhere and reorganise the way the South Australian economy functions”.

“The idea is to get a group of international thinkers who all have South Australia at heart and can really make a big difference,” he said.

The board, to be chaired by South Australian business leader Rob Chapman will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks.

A second meeting, where it is hoped all members will be in Adelaide, is scheduled for July.

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