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Speech at opening of Tindo Solar, Adelaide

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I’m here to really offer my congratulations to Adrian, to Ben and to Richard for what they’ve achieved here. And I’m very proud to be able to do it in my home state.

This is the place I grew up. This is the place that my mother spent quite a lot of time yelling at me to turn lights off that shouldn’t be on. Telling me, “you weren’t born in a tent”, as her way of - you recognise that one? “She’s the cat’s mother” would have been up there with her other favourite sayings I think.

But you weren’t born in a tent so shut the door, keep either the heat in or the cool in because she was very focused on making sure that we saved electricity and we saved power.

It wasn’t just electricity that she was talking about, she brought her great thrift from the United Kingdom with her into Australia and she didn’t want to see us waste money. And here we are all these years later, and we’re focusing on electricity for a different reason.

Yes we’re focusing on it because families still worry about the family power bills - and I’m sure that there are plenty of parents who are saying to their kids not only turn the light off, but what’s the computer still doing on and why is games console still plugged in, and the list goes on and on.

But we’re talking about the way in which we generate energy for another reason and that is because of our need to combat climate change and reduce the amount of carbon pollution in our atmosphere.

So it’s great to be here at a business that has had the foresight to forge ahead and to bust two big myths that I think are unfortunately too common to our national debate.

Myth number one: that there’s really nothing that we can do in the face of climate change; that there’s no action that we can take.

Well we can act and we have acted as a nation by putting a price on carbon and consequently forever changing the economic equation about where we get our power from.

And that means having changed that economic equation, that there are plenty of opportunities for clean energy businesses to come along and to fill that growing need. And here we are today at Tindo Solar, one of those great businesses.

And the other myth that’s been busted is that we are a country that can’t manufacture anymore. That can’t see new manufacturing enterprises; that we can’t compete. And yes, competing is tough and it’s hard and we are never going to roll out manufacturing the way countries with a lower cost environment roll it out.

We are never going to win a race with China or India or Indonesia on wages. We can’t do it and we wouldn’t want to do it because our future as a nation isn’t going to be going to the bottom in terms of a race on wages. It’s going to be forging our future as a high skill, high wage, high innovation economy.

And the innovations here speak for themselves. You see being done here through advanced robotics what in other nations would still be done by a factory of people by hand. And it’s because of that degree of innovation that you can see us being able to compete with those other nations.

Now I’ve taken on board the words about the trade equation and some issues about dumping and I can assure you that as a Government we are continuing to focus on what should be the trading rules that make the trading system work properly. So that’s not about protectionism, but it’s about the global rules system for trading and making sure that there is no unfair advantages taken. So I’ve certainly taken those words on board.

But standing here we can really say this is a business that is going to make a contribution for the future. I know that you are looking to quadruple over the next 12 months, having made such a good start, and I certainly wish you well with that.

And I wish everybody in the business well as you go about that challenge. It takes a degree of courage to start a business like this. It takes a lot of hard work to keep it running. It takes an eye for continuous improvement so that you can see the growth and harvest the rewards. And I know here in this business you are doing all of those things.

Today in South Australia I feel like the Premier and I are working together and speaking about two of the great environmental challenges of our age. One is climate change, and a bit later today we will be talking about that great environmental challenge of water, and the River Murray.

It’s nice to be able to start the day therefore in an audience with some children in it, not the world’s youngest workers as I found out as I met the children. Certainly kids who are going to have to do a bit of homework on the weekend to make up for a day off school - I’ve seen a frown there - you didn’t do any extra homework on the weekend? I can kind of understand that.

But when we’re thinking about these great environmental challenges and how we work to address them, really it is about the kids who are here today. The kids of our nation and the kids of the world, and because of how long term these challenges are it’s about the generation that follows them, and the generation that follows them.

So it’s great that being here, declaring Tindo Solar formally open, that we are not only surrounded by management and the workforce, but also the families, the children who have all come together to make this a very special business venture.

So without further ado, I would like to declare Tindo Solar formally open and we will now do what is always the truly terrifying thing which is to see if we can get the plaque unveiled.