METS Growth Centre Opening

28 Oct 2015 Speech

METS Growth Centre Opening

QUT, Brisbane

SUBJECT: Christopher Pyne, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, opening the new Mining Equipment, Technology Services Growth Centre.

Christopher Pyne: It’s a great time to be the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science because we have a prime minister who is reflexively and instinctively fascinated by the capacity and the potential for innovation to transform our economy into a new economy. There’s no doubt Australia will always have as a very solid foundation, the mining sector, the agricultural sector, financial services sector and so on - international education of course, but what the Prime Minister has charged me with the task of doing, is through a national innovation and science agenda, that we will announce later this year, creating the Government architecture that will drive the commercialization of our brilliant research that will lead to jobs and growth and wealth for our economy and also to change the culture to enable more risk taking.

We are a reasonably risk averse country, we’ve been terribly successful as a nation and we hadn’t necessarily needed to take a great deal of risk but in this global environment where innovation and research and science and disruptive technologies are changing [indistinct] that we always relied on, being able to take risks and being prepared to do so is going to be an important cultural shift in Australia for business and for government. So, some of the things that we will announce later this year will be about not necessarily spending huge amounts of new money. It might be about spending money we spend now in a better way, mightn’t spend it in a different way but it will also be about creating the architecture that the government can do that let’s the market planners, that’s entrepreneurs and individuals, adventure capitalists and researchers, actually get up and go out there and sell their wares.

Because Australian research as you would all know is one of the best in the world, we’re the sixth best in the OECD [indistinct] research but we are still 33rd out of the 33 for the commercialization research. This is great news from an industry point of view from a new minister’s point of view because I am coming on such a low base so as long as we get off 33, I will have actually achieved something so I am looking forward to doing that. But seriously, today we are here for the launch of the Mining Equipment Technology and Services Growth Centre. These growth centres, industry growth centres, came out of really work that had been done in the United States by Andrew Liveris who of course is an Australia working for President Obama on the next, on new manufacturing, the next generation of manufacturing. What America is good at, that they could then do even more of, rather than letting 1000 flowers bloom.

A similar idea took root here in Australia but rather than try and put our eggs in every basket, we would have a look at things that Australia did well and could double up or treble or improve so that we could create jobs growth and wealth for Australia and one of those here is that the chosen is mining equipment technology and services and Louie of course will explain even more about what the METS is going to do but effectively it will be bringing together a lot of people already in the sector who perhaps don’t know what everyone else is doing and ensure that they are all working collaboratively, it will be about how to commercialize the research and work that’s already being done in the sector, it will be about establishing international collaborations and using the amazing technology and intellectual property that we already have in Australia to increase our exports in sector which is already at $15 billion in a year, to make – to take what we’ve already done in Australia so well to take it overseas and compete because Australians are good international partners.

I’m sure all of you who work overseas or travel overseas know that when an Australian walks through the door, there’s almost an instant recognition from the partner that they probably have been well regulated, that you’ve probably got through a few hoops and hurdles in Australia and you’ve probably had a reasonably good education and that you’re here talking to a business, it’s because you’ve been relatively successful and if you’ve made it in Australia, that you’ve probably relied on bona fides before finding more about you so this METS is going to add value to the mining equipment, technology and services sector of the economy.

It will lead to jobs, and to growth, and it comes along at a great time for the entire sector, whether it’s universities or national research institutes and later this year I think you’ll be terribly excited – well, I hope you’ll be excited, I’ll be excited anyway even if you’re not, I’m going to be excited about the announcement that will be made in December that will turbo charge the innovation aspect of our economy.

Thank you very much for having me and I’m happy to declare the growth centre here open.