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PACIA Victorian Interface Function - Samantha Read Address - 19 May 2016

Samantha Read, PACIA CEO
Welcome Address

PACIA Victorian Interface Function 2016
The Investment Centre Victoria

Minister, Members of the PACIA Board, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am Samantha Read, CEO of PACIA, the national voice for the business of chemistry in Australia. We are delighted to welcome you to our Victorian Interface Function.

Tonight’s event follows last year’s successful inaugural Function, again in this fabulous venue kindly provided by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs,
Transport and Resources.

I would like to thank and acknowledge our sponsors for tonight’s event:

  • Croomo: Supporting industry as a technology and learning design partner;
  • ERM: A leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services, with offices throughout Australia;
  • FB Rice: Experts in the navigation and protection of intellectual property, working with clients to create IP strategies with high commercial impact;
  • MSE Infrastructure: A solar renewable project development business of MORE Solar Energy, which has been recently approved by the Australian Energy Regulator to
supply clean and low-cost electricity to commercial and
industrial businesses; and
  • The Tartan Group: A boutique Chartered Accounting practice that specialises in providing outsourced Finance Department and virtual CFO skills, to the SME and Not-for-profit sectors.

We are very pleased to be hosting guests here tonight from:

  • The Victorian Government;
  • Senior representatives from Federal & State departments
& agencies;
  • Industry leaders;
  • The research sector; and
  • Friends of the industry.

And I am particularly delighted to welcome back our Guest of Honour, the Honorable Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Industry and
 Minister for Energy and Resources.

Strong supply chains

It is fantastic to see such a broad cross-section of attendees here tonight because this is a great opportunity build connections. In fact, our industry specialises in making connections!

We provide critical products and services that feed into and enable 109 of Australia’s 111 industry sectors, including:

  • Vital medical technologies and pharmaceuticals such as targeted medicines, pacemakers and blood bags;

  • New energy technologies such as cutting edge polymer development to create flexible solar cells; and

  • Food and fibre production where packaging keeps food safe and fresher for longer.

We talk a lot about this statistic. Because the Australian chemistry industry is vital to domestic value chains, helping to build a resilient, broad-based and innovative economy. And by taking a whole-of-value chain approach we can better identify opportunities for growth, at a time when the Australian economy is in transition.

Globalisation means that Australia must position itself as one of many countries tendering for mobile and finite capital. This is true both for multinational companies and also Australian companies, making decisions on where to invest.

The States have an important role to play in this picture:

  • Each State has its own profile and its own natural advantages
  • Each State must consider areas of competitive advantage

In this context, the discussion around gas availability in Victoria is very important, given gas has been a source of competitive advantage and investment attraction in Victoria for so many years. PACIA supports the application of sound science and appropriate regulatory measures to ensure the responsible development of gas reserves.

But we have voiced concern around the continuing moratorium on gas exploration in Victoria, particularly as applied to conventional gas. Minister, we are keen to understand Victoria’s response to the ACCC’s recent findings, and to the Parliamentary Committee’s report on onshore gas development in this State. I’m sure Jonathan will talk more about this in a moment.

Research and innovation

The Victorian Government’s Future Industries Program provides a strategy for growth, and our industry has an important role to play here.

The business of chemistry is inherently advanced manufacturing. This sector, and the other advanced manufacturers using the outputs from our industry, are critically important to this State’s economy.

Nationally, the Australian chemistry industry contributes:

  • Over $11.9bn in industry value add, and
  • Directly employs more than 64,000 people, often in highly skilled jobs
  • And Victoria represents more than 35% of this total employment, directly employing over 21,000 people and contributing $6 billion in wages.

I have participated in discussions to explore growth and employment driven by advanced manufacturing, in Victoria and other States. I can say that Victoria has a very considered approach to and is at the forefront of encouraging and supporting business to take up new opportunities.

However, the theme that keeps recurring is that we need to understand the aspects that provide Victorian businesses with their competitive advantage in a global marketplace. And we need to foster these aspects.

Like gas, innovation can provide Victorian businesses with competitive advantage. And Chemistry is a powerful innovator.

Just think of the transformation from a traditional paper banknote into the high-tech polymer currency we use today. Technology developed in Victoria using Bass Strait gas, processed in Altona and converted into currency and certificates in Craigieburn. This technology is now exported around the world and Victoria is leading further innovation to enhance security features.

Innovation provided through chemistry drives efficiency improvements in manufacturing processes and in the product itself. And to be successful, we need close ties between industry, the research community, governments and other stakeholders.

PACIA and our members have a strong history of enabling a collaborative approach to deliver positive outcomes for industry and the economy. Together we are driving a broad range of exciting research collaborations with industry, yielding great results.

This is confirmed in the latest results from the Victorian Centre for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing. This partnership between the CSIRO, Monash University, PACIA and EPA Victoria has:

  • Engaged more than 250 companies;
  • Created 15 new commercial products; and
  • Found alternative uses for over 100,000 tonnes of waste.

In the last year we have also formalised a strategic partnership with the CSIRO to jointly tackle challenges in the chemistry industry, and foster links between the business and science community. This is also supported by the recent announcement of the new CSIRO Business Advisory Service, which builds on the work undertaken by CSIRO Futures on PACIA’s Strategic Industry Roadmap.

We believe in the power of these collaborations. And we believe in the value of events like tonight. There’s no substitute for getting people in the same room, to strengthen existing, or establish new relationships. There’s nothing like the power of a good conversation!

Minister D’Ambrosio, we look forward to working closely with you and the Victorian Government to drive growth, investment and competitiveness across Victoria.


Media contacts:
Krista Imberger – [email protected] or 0439 318 290
Claire Selby – [email protected] or 0448 028 876

PACIA is the national voice for the strategically significant $40 billion Australian chemistry industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country. The industry employs more than 60,000 people and contributes more than $11.6 billion to GDP in industry value add. Ranging in size from small family-owned businesses to national and multi-national enterprises, PACIA members include chemicals manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, plastics fabricators and compounders, chemicals and plastics recyclers and service providers to the industry.




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