SA urged to bid for UN climate change conference

·2-min read
Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

South Australia's peak business group says the state should look to host the world's leading conference on climate change to push its green credentials.

In a wide-ranging submission ahead of the SA budget in June, Business SA says the state government should conduct a feasibility study on the potential for Adelaide to host a United Nations Conference of the Parties gathering.

Also known as UN COP, the event brings about 200 countries together with a view to reaching agreements on measures to limit increases in global temperatures.

Business SA says the event could attract thousands of delegates, observers and media representatives.

"Adelaide already has a solid track record in organising flagship global events," the organisation said in its submission.

"Hosting the COP would attract between 20,000 and 30,000 people, boost the economy, and further cement our credentials as a global leader in renewable energy."

Australia has never hosted a UN COP, but the federal government last year proposed a bid to host the meeting in 2026.

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said Australia would seek to co-host with the Pacific to help elevate the case of the Pacific for more climate action.

Business SA said if successful the event could "shift Australia's reputation from climate laggard to regional leader".

In other budget recommendations, it called on the state government to reinvigorate Adelaide's sister city programs to spark genuine transfer of knowledge, skills and trade, introduce government-funded paid internships to encourage university graduates to start their careers in South Australia, and create a program to attract more skilled migrants.

It also proposed a fund to provide micro-grants to businesses to conduct energy audits and invest in renewables, urged the government to sponsor an exhibition for renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, and called for payroll tax breaks.

Business SA chief executive Andrew Kay said there was very little for businesses in the recent federal budget.

"We are now looking to the state to fund some practical and innovative measures to support South Australian businesses as they navigate complex economic circumstances," he said.

The SA budget will be handed down on June 15.