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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 1

Mr JULL (12:32 PM) —The Governor-General, in his speech to the House, made particular reference to the government's initiatives in terms of overseas trade. I would like to inform the House of the importance of that in my electorate of Fadden. As I have mentioned previously, the seat of Fadden encompasses the Gold Coast. While the Gold Coast continues to be a foremost tourist destination, and tourism and hospitality are the chief money earners, I wonder if there is a realisation within the federal bureaucracy that the income generated by the tourism industry may not last for very much longer. The reality is that the Gold Coast is becoming very much a focal point for export industries for Australia.

I would like to mention to the House just some of the things that are happening. For example, the film industry which is based at Oxenford is now creating films for worldwide distribution. It is not only Australian productions which are being made; a number of American productions are also being made. The flow-on affect of that is tremendous. There are editing houses and specialty audio suites which have been established as well as specialty legal firms which deal in patents and copyright in association with that particular industry. While the industry has had a bit of a down time in the past 12 months, the forward projections on productions look absolutely tremendous.

There has also been the advent of the Gold Coast Marina, which is now a major luxury shipbuilder. Last year, the income generated from that through exports was in the vicinity of $250 million. Estimates are that this year it could be as high as $400 million, with principal markets being places like Fort Lauderdale in the United States. A new industrial estate has been established at Yatala, in the northern area of the Gold Coast. Along with our Austrade people, I have been undertaking some visits to a number of the manufacturers there. There is a pet food company there—a $50 million business—that has now gone into the export of chilled pet food throughout Asia. It is estimated that its income, particularly through these exports, is going to double within the next 12 months to two years. A smallgoods manufacturer has started exporting to Japan. There is only one buyer, but that will amount to up to 30 tonnes of specialist sausages for the Kyoto market from 5 January next year.

Jewellery manufacturing has taken on quite an image on the Gold Coast. One particular manufacturer there, based at Sanctuary Cove, is now exporting around the world. We have the largest producer of computer games in the Asia-Pacific area. It is a company that employs 250 people, 170 of whom are graduates. It supplies video games and computer games to all areas of the Asia-Pacific except Japan. It is no wonder that something like 60,000 people employed in Fadden actually live in Fadden. It is no wonder that our unemployment rates are some of the lowest in Australia. The Gold Coast is virtually becoming a focal point for high-tech international manufacturing. As we have seen in recent times, we have got to a stage now where we have actually had to import labour from South Australia, from the old Mitsubishi plant, to meet some of the requirements.

In fact, throughout the electorate we are finding that one of the greatest difficulties that we have is getting skilled labour. In that respect, the announcement of a technical college that will be built and operated by the Commonwealth to meet those specific needs is especially welcome. The Gold Coast is, as I said, very much a focal point for this. What we have seen is a spin-off into our educational institutions. After the recent redistribution, I have inherited the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University from my colleague the member for Moncrieff. To give you an example of what happens there, a whole new music division has been established specifically to meet the digital music requirements of the movie production houses. That is a huge business, with five sound stages now based at Griffith University all going flat-out producing graduates who have the opportunity to go into areas such as the film industry and the video games industry with digital music, which is really quite unlike anything that we have seen before. Quite proudly, Griffith University boasts of the fact that something like four of its graduates have been picked up by Hollywood already because of the standard of student that it is producing there.

As I said, we must have realised within the government that the Gold Coast is no longer just froth and bubble. It is not just an area that caters for tourism; it is very much becoming the specialist manufacturing heart of Australia. With the expansion of Brisbane airport, we have a major requirement now for specialist aviation engineering people. While a lot of that training is being done in a new school that has been established, with government help, at Brisbane airport, all the Queensland universities are very much involved now in producing graduates who will have the capacity to go for the highly technical jobs that will come with the advent of the new Qantas 767 maintenance base. There is also talk of a joint facility being set up between Qantas and Singapore Airlines for the maintenance and work involved with the new A380 aircraft.

So there are exciting times on the Gold Coast. Employment levels are very high. The demand for labour is immense. While we speak of technical areas, we have only to look at the building industry to see what is required there. I understand from the Master Builders Association that at the moment there are some 2,300 apprenticeships going within the building industry. The situation has become so drastic and there is such a requirement for qualified builders that a third-year apprentice in the building industry at the moment, if that person is good, has the capacity to draw something like $100,000 a year. So the Gold Coast is, I think, probably the most exciting part of Australia at the moment. It is exciting because it is very much an international city, but it is most exciting because of the tremendous contribution it is making to the development of Australia.

The SPEAKER —Order! Before I call the honourable member for Watson, Mr Burke, I remind the House that this is the honourable member's first speech. I ask the House to extend to him the usual courtesies.