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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8790

Mr LYONS (Bass) (19:15): I rise today to make mention of some fantastic local, innovative industries in my electorate of Bass; I rise also to talk about the Australian Labor government's commitment to support­ing Australian industries. We are working side by side with Australian industries to boost their productivity and competitiveness and to build a culture of innovation.

I have spoken previously in this place about Haywards Steel Fabrication & Construction, a business in my state, and about the fantastic projects they are involved in, not only in Tasmania but also interstate. These projects include, to name just a few, the wind towers for the Musselroe Wind Farm, the installation of mining equipment in the Pilbara and the fabrication and installation of coal stackers in both New South Wales and Queensland. I have again recently visited Haywards with Senator Thorp and was pleased to hear of the terrific work that the business is undertaking.

Another business in my electorate, Pivot Maritime International, has received the award for exporter of the year for the last two years and is run locally in Legana, producing ship simulation systems across the nation. When I was recently in Western Australia, there was a Pivot Maritime ship simulator at the Challenger Institute of Technology. Jeff and Luz Hawkins and their team at Pivot Maritime International are renowned for their research, consultancy and training within the industry and are to be commended for their innovative ideas, passion and hard work.

Another local and innovative business, Autech, received the award in each of the two years prior to Pivot Maritime receiving the award for exporter of the year. Autech are world-leading suppliers of innovative colour marketing solutions to international companies to promote and sell their products. Autech are regarded as global experts in their field, and they are especially excited at the prospects that the National Broadband Network will bring to further enhance their business capabilities for the global market. Autech is another example of an innovative local business.

Foot & Playsted, an 80-year-old business, have installed a new digital printing press to keep up with technological advances with fast turnaround and high quality. They focus on the ongoing training of staff, including the training of six apprentices, in all areas of their organisation. Foot & Playsted directly employ 45 staff in Launceston. They are in­novative in the design of packing production and die cutting and continue to pursue any environmental initiative available to them, including the use of green, renewable, sustainable energy to power their plant. Foot & Playsted are to be congratulated on their innovative approach to printing.

The ACL Bearing Co., in Launceston, are doing it tough. They have downsized over many years. The high-priced Australian dollar and freight costs have taken their toll. But they are a bright light—they recently received the prestigious award of distinction in the automotive chassis category of the 2012 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards competition. This competition is conducted by the Metal Powder Industries Federation of the USA. It is a fantastic achievement for a local business to receive an international award, and it shows the high calibre of work that is produced by local businesses.

These are all terrific examples of local businesses in my electorate who are meeting the challenge and investing in innovative technologies within their industries. The Gillard Government is committed to ensur­ing Australia's economy meets the challenges of the future and delivers prosperity for all Australians. We are investing in economic infrastructure and improving the productivity and competitiveness of our industries which will secure our economic future. There are challenges and opportunities for industry from the mining boom, the high-priced Australian dollar, international competition and the emergence of a low carbon global economy. The opposition has no innovation or industry policy and no vision for Australian workers.

The Gillard government has invested $9.4 billion in support for science and innovation. That is around 43 per cent higher than the Howard government invested in 2007-08. Also, in 2008, the Labor government launched Enterprise Connect, which has helped more than 16,000 businesses develop their skills and increase their knowledge to improve their competitiveness. We have also introduced the R&D Tax Incentive, which supports more than 8,000 businesses each year. We are investing $1.2 billion in the Clean Technology Program. The Australian Labor government is committed to supporting local industries.

I again congratulate the local businesses from my electorate that I mentioned previously—Haywards Steel Fabrication & Construction, Pivot Maritime International, Autech, Foot & Playsted and the ACL Bearing Co—on the fantastic work they do locally, nationally and internationally in tough times. They are to be commended on their approaches to becoming innovative in order to meet the demands of the future.