Chemicals and plastics can underpin Australia’s manufacturing future

The Australian chemistry industry plays a critical role in not only safeguarding Australia’s economic resilience, but also underpinning future opportunities for growth across the entire economy, according to Samantha Read, Chief Executive of the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA).

The Australian chemicals and plastics industry supples inputs to 109 of Australia’s 111 industries. According to PACIA, every job in the Australian chemicals and plastics industry creates five more in related supply chains.

"This means that innovation and growth within the Australian chemistry industry has a multiplier effect in creating jobs and investment in supply chains across Australia," explaines Read.

Last year, the association launched the ‘PACIA Strategic Industry Roadmap’, which identifies the fundamental needs for both a vibrant Australian chemistry sector and the industries it underpins.

The ‘PACIA Strategic Industry Roadmap’ builds on analysis by CSIRO into the future of the Australian chemistry industry. The research demonstrates how Australia can achieve sustained growth by taking advantage of major global and domestic economic, social and environmental shifts known as megatrends.

One example is the need for increased food production in response to global population growth. The Australian chemicals and plastics industry plays an enabling role in providing critical inputs to products such as silage film for agricultural production; disinfectants and tamper-proofing in manufacturing; insulation for storage and distribution; and packaging to preserve and protect food.

“To take advantage of these opportunities, industries and governments must continue to work together to remove roadblocks to growth,” said Read. “The good news is that Australia has a potential competitive advantage due to our abundant reserves of natural gas."

The local industry is unique in transforming natural gas as a feedstock into essential chemical components for pharmaceuticals; fertilisers; plastics for food; industrial and agricultural packaging; pipes, tanks and fittings for water distribution.

[Image: PACIA]