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Science-based industries to play key role in the ambitious national growth agenda - 21 November 2014

The Australian chemistry industry welcomes the ambitious growth agenda agreed at the G20 in Brisbane.

“Setting targets sharpens the focus on outcomes and makes us all responsible to drive the positive change required,” said Samantha Read, Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) CEO.

“We look forward to the opportunity of working together with the Australian Government to help reach these targets.

“The Australian chemistry industry, Australia’s second largest manufacturing sector, will play a vital role in this growth agenda. The innovative application of science in industry is the foundation of a smart economy, and this will be key to Australia building comparative advantage.

“The Report ‘STEM: Australia’s Future’, released in September by Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb, states that globally, 75% of the fastest growing occupations require science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. The business of chemistry creates highly skilled jobs, directly employing over 60,000 people in Australia.

“Professor Chubb’s Report also states that scientific and technological advances have produced roughly half of all US economic growth in the last 50 years.

“The Australian chemistry industry is proactive in setting a strategic agenda to drive growth and competitiveness, launching the industry’s Strategic Roadmap last year. The Roadmap is informed by extensive independent foresighting research conducted by CSIRO, which has enabled the industry to identify the key growth opportunities on a national, regional and global scale.

“For example, the dual factors of global population growth and an ageing population are driving massive demand for health and wellbeing products. Chemistry enables products that we rely on every day, from targeted medicines to oxygen permeable contact lenses. Diabetics can test their blood sugar levels with a simple chemical test. Medical devices such as incubators for premature babies, pacemakers and blood bags save lives.

“When we talk about ‘advanced manufacturing’, these are the kind of technologies that are valued for advancing our everyday lives. The Australian chemistry industry plays a crucial role in meeting the needs of an expanding world today and in providing solutions to the challenges of the future.

“We welcome the focus on collaboration outlined in Ambition 4 of the Federal Government’s Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, which proposes the development of Industry Growth Centres. The industry highly values partnerships as a way to build stronger interconnections between research, industry and supply chains, and to develop capabilities and drive innovation through the economy.

“The Australian chemistry industry plays a critical enabling role, supplying inputs to 109 of Australia’s 111 industries. We see that the industry can make a significant contribution through collaboration with all five Growth Centres including food and agribusiness; mining equipment, technology and services; oil, gas and energy resources; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; and advanced manufacturing, because the industry plays a key role in each of these value chains.

“There are extremely significant and exciting opportunities that the industry is ready to grasp. We must stay focused on the big picture and continue the work to remove barriers to growth, as set out in the industry’s Strategic Roadmap.

“Market-based reforms of Australia’s gas markets through the Government’s Energy White Paper process and State-based development are a crucial part of this bigger picture. Gas is critical for chemical feedstocks and for process energy throughout Australian manufacturing, commerce and communities. It plays a vital role in Australia’s robust, diverse and competitive future.

“We look forward to the continued work with federal, state and territory governments to ensure that the global drive for growth is backed by strong domestic industry strategy and policy development,” said Ms Read.

 
Contact:
  Claire Selby, cselby@chemistryaustralia.org.au, 0448 028 876.
Released 21 November 2014

About PACIA

PACIA is the pre-eminent national body representing Australia¹s $40bn chemistry industry, whose businesses directly employ 60,000 people and contribute approximately 11.5% of total Australian manufacturing production. PACIA members comprise a broad range of companies positioned across the entire value chain.  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.  These businesses range from small family-owned companies and innovative medium-sized enterprises, to leading national and multinational enterprises.


 

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