Launch of the Carbon Revolution Facility in Geelong

07 Oct 2015 Speech



CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Thank you very much Sarah, to you as the local Member for Corangamite, and a great fighter for Geelong and this part of Victoria in general, and shares many of the same ambitions that I have for advanced manufacturing as a South Australian faced with many of the same issues as the people of Geelong and the surrounding region. We know that our future is in exactly this kind of advanced manufacturing set up that we have here at Carbon Revolution. I don't think the Mayor is here, Darryn Lyons, he was going to come but he obviously hasn't been able to make it at the last minute, but he's also putting Geelong on the map in all sorts of ways, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. To Jake Dingle the CEO of Carbon Revolution, to Jane den Hollander, the Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University, Jamal Hameedi, who's come all the way from Detroit, and Dave French as well, who's here as the program director of Ford Asia-Pacific.

I am delighted to join you all in celebrating the opening of Carbon Revolution's carbon-fibre wheel manufacturing facility. This is creating extraordinary employment in this region at a time when that is needed the most. But that's not all; Carbon Revolution and Carbon Nexus next door are placing Geelong on the global high-tech manufacturing map. Sarah's already talked about some of the things, some of the measures that the Government has introduced to move our economy from old manufacturing paradigms to new manufacturing paradigms, and Geelong has been one of the great beneficiaries of these things. Like the advanced manufacturing growth industry centre, which will be based here in Geelong, but also spread right across Victoria, and also be felt in South Australia, like the CRC, the Cooperative Research Council that's in Advanced Manufacturing that was announced last year. The CRCs bring together industry, universities, researchers, hopefully business to try and turn world-beating research into commercial ventures that actually create funds, and create growth and jobs. And that's what it's all about.

We are very lucky, because Geelong also has attracted [indistinct], the High School of Newcomb High School here in Geelong, another commitment to our high-technology future. And we very also fortunate because our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is instinctively and reflexively excited about innovation. He sees innovation, creativity, support for start-ups, changing the Tax Act to encourage angel investors, settling issues around crowd funding, things that we can do to move the Australian psyche, and also the real outcomes of the Australian economy from the old to the new. As the Innovation Minister, Industry, Innovation and Science, it's very exciting for me because Malcolm said to me when I took over this job - and I'm quite an orthodox politician, quite conservative, but that's not always apparent. Malcolm said come up with some ideas about bringing a few things together to have a national innovation agenda. And after our first meeting he said well, that's great but I'd like you to release your inner revolutionary. I thought that's interesting, I said that will cost money. He said let me worry about the money, you get on with the ideas. So that's very exciting for a Cabinet Minister, I can tell you. When everybody else around the Cabinet table is being asked to tighten our belts, and reasonably so, the Prime Minister sees innovation as a driver of the economy into the future. And, of course it is. As a South Australian, we don't want just keep doing old manufacturing. As the Victorians here today, you know that the future is in new industries, high-tech, high value, innovative change and creativity.

The defence procurement budget, for example, that will obviously have impacts here in Geelong through things like Glad 400, the submarines contract, the future frigates program, the decor vets program. All of these big, very costly contracts that will be awarded by Government need to maximise the high-tech and innovative side of our Australian economy because that's creates jobs and creates wealth that we can export and attract that kind of wealth to Australia.

So over the course of the next few months as the Innovation Minister I will be putting together a national innovation agenda. I'm going to Canberra today and spending tomorrow with the bureaucrats in Canberra talking about some of the things that we can do quickly, some of the things that will take a medium term and the longer term thinking around innovation and a science policy.

So it's an exciting time, and Carbon Revolution is at the cutting edge of exactly what the Prime Minister is talking about. And I must take my hat off to Deakin University because Deakin University is one of those regional and metropolitan universities that recognises its commitment and its role in the community, in the society, in which it operates. And it puts its money where its mouth is.

And Jane den Hollander has been one of the leading vice-chancellors at talking about the various responsibilities of universities. And one of those responsibilities is to support the community in which the university exists, and Jane and Deakin are doing that through things like the relationship between Carbon Nexus and Carbon Revolution that allows the cross-pollination of ideas and research and leads to things like today.

So, yes, the Government was pleased to put $5 million from the GRIIF into Carbon Revolution. But more importantly, the money is one thing - it's the support and the encouragement for the initiative of people like Jake and others that the Government wants to do - all across Australia, not just here, but all across Australia. People with ideas - we want them to get out of bed in the morning and think how do I turn that idea into a business and create jobs in the future?

And that's our challenge. I'm very excited to have the challenge, and I'm very pleased to be here as my- clearly one of my very first outings as the Minister to open the Carbon Revolution facility. Thank you.