This year has been challenging for NSW’s manufacturers, but has also delivered great success, writes NSW minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair.
As I travel around the state I am truly impressed at the way our manufacturing businesses, large and small, are responding to the challenges of rapid technological change, global competition, and the pressure of rising energy costs. But that hasn’t stopped the sector continuing to grow, creating new jobs and skills, developing innovative new products, and expanding into new markets across the globe.
NSW is the nation’s manufacturing powerhouse. We are home to 31 per-cent of Australia’s manufacturing businesses – more than any other state. These businesses employ nearly 270,000 people, bridging the divide between city and country.
As Minister for Trade and Industry, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing first-hand just how inventive and determined this state’s manufacturers are. From agribusiness to defence, medical technology to plastics, NSW businesses are making their mark on the world stage. This diversity was on display at the recently held 2017 Premier’s NSW Export Awards, where I was able to congratulate some of our state’s most outstanding businesses on their incredible achievements, both at home and abroad.
They included Griffith-based Flavourtech, a manufacturer of specialised food processing equipment. Through its unique technology and innovative applications, Flavourtech has been able to customise its products to satisfy the palates of customers in different regions overseas. This outward-looking approach has seen its export business grow to 90 per-cent of annual sales.
Also recognised was PPC Moulding Services, a Villawood-based plastic injection moulder business servicing the medical and related heath industries. The company’s adoption of state-of-the-art machinery and automation has helped it grow from just 20 people in 2007 to over 250 today, with its products winning accolades from as far away as Canada and Turkey.
The NSW Government is working hard to support these businesses and promote them both at home and internationally, and one way we do this is through sponsorship of major trade events. In October, the NSW Government was the principal sponsor of the PACIFIC2017 international maritime expo, which allowed us to showcase the outstanding capabilities of our defence industry firms from around the state.
One of them is Wollongong-based Bisalloy Steels, Australia’s only manufacturer of high-tech armour and wear-resistant steel. The company’s advanced products have been used in the construction of the Navy’s Collins Class Submarines, as well as the Army’s Bushmaster and Hawkei armoured vehicles and the company’s armour is now in demand from buyers around the world.
Another standout firm at PACIFIC 2017 was Sydney company Ocius Technology that won a $10,000 Defence SME Innovation Grant for its unmanned marine drone the “Bluebottle” that can be deployed at sea for months, using solar, wind and wave power energy.
We are also promoting our thriving food manufacturing sector by showcasing 16 of our best small-scale food manufacturers at Fine Foods Australia, the largest food industry trade event in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a culinary delight to join them at the ‘Flavours of NSW Pavilion’, and this year marked the 17th time the Government has supported NSW businesses to take part. Companies on display included Shoalhaven’s Phyco Foods, which is infusing mineral-rich seaweed into everyday foods, as well as Bodalla Dairy, a small southcoast manufacturer blending bush tucker into cheese.
Everywhere I go I see NSW manufacturing striving to improve its competitiveness in smart and pioneering ways. Our businesses are leading the way in developing new skills and adopting new practices and technologies. More and more companies are chalking up success in a tough domestic and international environment. I’m proud of our manufacturers’ resilience, and I look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength