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Govt showcases investment agency, but where's the board?

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The State Government will today showcase its new Investment Attraction Agency – rebadged as Investment Attraction South Australia – highlighting a “bold new direction for trade and investment” under a unique board structure “chaired by eminent businessman Rob Chapman”.

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“Investment Attraction South Australia is playing an essential role in the transformation of our State’s economy,” Premier Jay Weatherill enthuses.

He and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith will unveil a glossy brochure titled “2016 Annual Investment and Trade Statement” that explains: “There are two levels of the Board – one focused on international lead generation (made up of people based internationally in SA’s target destinations overseas) and the other a locally based governance board that oversees the agency’s operations and key performance targets”.

It’s understood there are eight board positions in total.

But as of today, only Chapman has been appointed.

Liberal Deputy Leader Vickie Chapman (no relation) argues the Government has been “dragging its heels” since the Investment Attraction Agency’s establishment was first revealed by InDaily in June.

When he appointed Welsh economist Mike Hnyda to head the agency in September, Hamilton-Smith insisted the new unit would “hit the ground running”.

“However, five months later and a board has still not been appointed,” Chapman said today.

“In fact, the agency advised last week that the make-up of the board is still being considered by Cabinet.”

The minister told his one-time offsider in a fiery Question Time exchange this week that “the Government will have more to say about that in coming weeks”.

“You know what, we are going to put together a very good board for the Investment Attraction Agency and I know that the Opposition is dying to know more about it, so all will be revealed when the Government is ready,” Hamilton-Smith said.

InDaily understands an announcement on the appointments is imminent, but will not happen today.

Nonetheless, the Government is already spruiking the agency has “secured up to 400 jobs in the state in its first four months”, attributing yesterday’s partnership between flyscreen start-up ScreenAway and auto parts manufacturer Adelaide Tooling to its facilitating prowess.

Weatherill argues the agency has also “helped secure a multi-million dollar investment” – and 30 jobs – from US-based data company Buddy Platform, and “a $55 million venture by Australian Global Wine Services” for a bottling, storage and container facility at Port Adelaide, creating 50 jobs.

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