THE last Holden Commodore will soon roll off the Elizabeth line, signalling the end of an era. As the north’s economy prepares to transform, we speak to its people about the opportunities that lie ahead.
BUTCHERS Danny and Shane Gramazio are hooked on Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
The brothers learnt their trade as teenagers in their parents’ butcher’s shop in Dublin, before
opening their own shop in Burton’s Springbank Plaza in 2010.
Today, their company, D & S Meats, employs 30 people and has shops in Angle Vale, Blakes Crossing, Playford Alive, Munno Para, Mawson Lakes and Golden Grove.
And they continue to have faith in region, and its people, with plans for an eighth shop in Gilles Plains.
“We grew up in the north and we know the area and the people really well,” Danny says.
“They are the most genuine people you can meet.”
SA Structural Director Michael Mangos.
The car industry’s decline has coincided with their businesses taking off.
“When Holden announced it would shut, it was all doom and gloom in the north,” Danny says.
“We got a phone call from the Blakes Crossing Shopping Centre asking if we would be interested in opening a butcher shop in Blakeview.
“We didn’t really have plans of opening a second store, but signed up and started building.”
The pair have plans to open two more stores in South Australia before expanding their business overseas.
“There is so much happening in the north – I am really confident it is going to thrive,” Danny says.
In January 2014 – the month Holden announced it would stop building cars at Elizabeth – the northern suburbs recorded an unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent.
Latest figures for June, put the region’s jobless rate at 8 per cent, which still translates to about 17,500 people looking for work.
The State Government’s Northern Economic plan, released in November 2015, sets a target of creating 15,000 new jobs by 2025.
It lists six key industries for growth: construction, health, agriculture and food production, defence, mining equipment and technology, and tourism and recreation.
Salisbury North steel manufacturer SA Structural is one business tapping into new construction projects.
It is one of the country’s leading providers of structural steel for mining, infrastructure, shopping centres, schools and hotels.
Over the past 16 years, it has worked on projects including the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide Oval, the Riverbank footbridge and Burnside Village.
Michael Mangos started the business in 2001 and now employs 178 staff.
He plans to increase his workforce to 300 people over the next two years.
SA Structural Director Michael Mangos.
“I am all about making sure that our community is well looked after and that people are given opportunities to get into work,” Mr Mangos says.
“The north is a really strong base for business now, we just have to keep it there.
“Holden has been really important for the north and it will be a shame to lose it, but if they (automotive workers) can come work for us it would be great.
“We want to continue to be a leader and show that South Australians are world beaters.”
Not-for-profit organisation Northern Economic Leaders represent more than 50 businesses across Playford, Salisbury and Port Adelaide Enfield councils.
Chairman Kelvin Trimper is confident northern businesses will continue to thrive once Holden closes its doors.
“The north has over 1700 business which call the region their home,” Mr Trimper says.
“Despite the challenges that come with the closure of Holden and its impact on supply chains, we have got a lot of positives to look forward to.
“We are not interested in talking to those who forecast doom and gloom, we are interested in talking to people who want to provide opportunities in the north.”
For more information on the Northern Economic Leaders group, visit http://www.nel.org.au/.