Gannon has been the SA executive director of the Property Council of Australia for almost four years and is a passionate advocate for the sector in the state.
The 35-year-old’s long list of achievements led to Gannon being named a winner in the inaugural InDaily 40 Under 40 Awards last month.
We caught up with the ardent Norwood Football Club supporter to ask him some more about doing business in South Australia.
What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?
Australia’s biggest capital cities are unable to offer a number of vital ingredients – the nation’s fastest data network, superior liveability and the full lifestyle package for knowledge workers.
South Australia is a global food bowl and international wine mecca, a cultural entertainment stage, an emerging bio-medical research powerhouse, and we have a healthy, growing start-up and entrepreneurial sector. Our high-data using industries like film and medical imaging are about to boom under the transformational 10 Gigabit Adelaide initiative, which is a game-changer.
While thousands of Australians are being locked out of the housing market on the eastern seaboard due to spiralling costs, our state enjoys comparative housing affordability as the second most affordable state to buy a house or unit in the country. And when our companies have happy and healthy people, they prosper.
This means we have what the world needs – but we need to be realistic, because business conditions could be better.
Investments could be returning stronger profits. More people could be relocating to South Australia than leaving. The state’s confidence levels could be higher, and we could have a higher incidence of company headquarters in our capital.
But what I really love about South Australia’s business community is its resilience and resolve. If you can make it in Adelaide, you can make it just about anywhere. We’ve been exporting our people for generations, and our expats are some of the country’s most prominent chief executives and managing directors of listed companies. That’s an incredible hallmark – and one we should promote.
What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?
On the matter of lifestyle, we win hands down, but we need to transition from ‘Australia’s best kept secret’ to ‘Australia’s most competitive investment destination’.
South Australia’s biggest current and future challenge is demand and growth. When it comes to our attractiveness as an investment destination, the Government needs to be doing more to stimulate demand – and that starts with sensible policy settings covering tax, planning, housing and population growth.
For comparison, Melbourne has been ranked by The Economist as the world’s most liveable city for seven years running, and greater Melbourne grows by more people every 28 days than greater Adelaide does across the entire year. This means Melbourne is doing something right when it comes to its economy and liveability and we should take note.
Do you see your future in South Australia?
As a parochial crow-eater, I’ve always seen my future through a South Australian lens. I’m committed to making it work for my family, which is why our state needs sensible policy settings in place to ensure our economy is future-proofed, resilient and awash with job opportunities.
How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?
We shouldn’t be spooked by young people wanting to test the Sydney or Melbourne jobs markets to deepen their experiences. However, there are now fewer young people in South Australia than there were in 1985 – and that is a concern. We’re not doing enough to bring our future business owners, future job creators, and future risk takers back home.
If we can develop an ecosystem of job opportunities and employment pathways, then our best and brightest won’t need to refine their craft on the eastern seaboard – they’ll be able to do it right here in Adelaide. At the same time, we need a government that is focused on demand drivers and competitiveness to attract investment to our state.
More about 40 Under 40
An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community judged hundreds of nominees for the inaugural 40 Under 40 awards, which aim to identify and promote a new generation of local leaders under the age of 40.
The final 40 includes a hugely varied collection of South Australian talents, who are making a mark in fields such as health, technology, the media, property, social innovation, agriculture, finance, the law, and much more.
For the full list of 40 Under 40 winners go here.
40 Under 40 is an InDaily initiative supported by the following partners:
- Piper Alderman
- Australian Institute of Business
- Australian Institute of Company Directors
- Underwood Executive
- City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
- Local Government Association of South Australia
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