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Source: Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment

Speech, E&OE

Edinburgh Park Industrial Centre, Edinburgh North SA

26 September 2019

Jessica Adamson: Ladies and gentleman, I think it’s very clear to see how much today means to Roger Drake and his family. Roger, you are an inspiration to so many people and we are so lucky to have you fighting the good fight in South Australia.

Well, another very proud South Australian is the Honourable Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. We are very happy to have him here with us today to celebrate this incredible achievement. Could you please welcome him.

Simon Birmingham: Well, thanks so much for that welcome, Jessica. Even if you did steal what was going to be my opening gag of reflecting of the fact that it is an incredibly big week for those of the black and yellow variety. And of course, congrats to all the Bays fans out there.

To Roger and Wendy and family, thank you so much for inviting me to share in this incredible accomplishment of yours today. Today really stands as a celebration of investment and innovation of entrepreneurship and employment. It’s a demonstration of how it is that a small business can grow by investing in those that matter most, their customers, their people, their staff, their suppliers, and ultimately building the type of relationships that deliver loyalty and growth and opportunities. And today, we celebrate the fact that Drakes stand here no more as a small business but very much still a proud business focused on those same core attributes. It’s a long way since Jack and Jill was purchased in 1974, Roger. And can I say without wanting to make you feel at all like the years have whizzed by, but ’74 was a very good vintage of personal significance to me.

You have done an incredible journey in that time, undertaking an incredible journey today with over 60 stores across South Australia and Queensland. I’m sure very few of the customers who walk through those stores on a routine basis, particularly those in South Australia who have grown up with the Drakes name and supermarkets, would have an appreciation of just how big and vast your reach is now, particularly in terms of the significant precedents in Queensland as well as here in SA. In doing so, they’re creating employment opportunities for more than 6000 people. And here today, we celebrate the fact that you will enhance those employment opportunities by creating even more capacity and of course, thus working under great conditions here at this site. And we congratulate you and thank you for that because it is those opportunities that are life-changing. But also your investment in supporting your suppliers, many of whom are here today. Proudly South Australian, proudly Australian, making sure that wherever possible, you’re backing the employment opportunities not just of those working in your store but of course through those suppliers, the many people producing high quality products right across our state and our nation.

You give back as well. Drakes is proudly recognised for your support, not just in employing people but engagement in community. Local community support, sponsorship at different events associated closely with your local stores, support for local schools and charities and including significant charities such as your work with Super Boss Day for HeartKids or the Drakes Charity Showbag, a long-standing favourite at the Royal Adelaide Show – these are the types of things that make that little bit of difference into the lives of so many people. But through it all, you’ve maintained a very real focus on what matters – quality that matters.

Hands up those who are here who have met with Roger at some stage in the office upstairs, up the Torrensville shop. There’s got to be a few of you, surely. Yes, yes. As have I. You know full well the investment goes into what matters. That office speaks of the humility of Roger and his family, but of the fact that they focus on what matters in terms of investing in the customer experience, in backing their suppliers and then ultimately, growing the business end of the operation. This looks pretty schmick here today by comparison with upstairs at Torrensville. But it’s only schmick because of the quality of those who’ve done the work here and because it’s about investing continuously in that cost-effective supply of the best quality produce to consumers.

So I congratulate Roger, Wendy and family, but of course all of those who have helped make this a reality today. We look forward to it being an outstanding success and to Drakes only continuing to go full strength into the future. Well done and congratulations.

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