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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6372


Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsCabinet Secretary, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation) (10:24): On 15 May I participated in the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance, SEMMA, industry forum held at Dandenong's Drum Theatre. Over 50 manufacturers representing businesses from across south-east Melbourne joined the federal Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, the federal member for Bruce, Alan Griffin, and me in a lively and productive discussion regarding the issues facing manufacturing in Australia. The discussion covered the challenges facing businesses locally and across Australia as well as the support available to manufacturers under the federal government's clean technology programs and other initiatives. With 40 per cent of Victoria's manufacturing occurring in Melbourne's south-east, the future of manufacturing is central to the lives of many people living and working in my electorate and the surrounding areas, where manufacturing supports just under one in five local jobs. The positive feedback from the forum emphasises the importance of government and manufacturers working together to ensure the long-term viability of manufacturing in Australia. The SEMMA forum is part of an ongoing dialogue between the manufacturing sector and government that will ensure that the right policy decisions are made to enable Australian businesses to innovate and grow.

I want to mention a manufacturing company in my electorate that has worked hard to innovate and respond to the global environment. I recently visited Replas Recycled Plastic Products in Carrum Downs. They take plastic waste which would otherwise go to landfill and turn it into tough sustainable plastic products, including tables, chairs, boardwalks, bollards and play equipment. Products produced by Replas can be seen locally in the form of outdoor signage at Carrum Downs Secondary College, a boardwalk on the Frankston foreshore and signage on the nearby EastLink freeway. Further afield, Replas has provided boardwalks to the Northern Territory, to Parks Victoria, to the Mackay Regional Council in Queensland and to the Bega Valley Shire Council in New South Wales. Replas has the largest recycled plastics distribution centre in the Southern Hemisphere. I congratulate Replas on their commitment to the principle of the three Rs: reduce, re-use and recycle.

Labor is the party of manufacturing. We are committed to a strong and vibrant manufacturing sector. That is clear from the budget announced last month, which includes a surplus to take pressure off interest rates as well as providing significant new investment in skills and training to ensure that our workforce remains the most highly skilled in the world. We are not going to walk away from manufacturing when the going gets tough. We know the importance of the sector to our economy and to our country. We will keep fighting for manufacturing so that businesses like Replas continue to flourish.