Frank Seeley AM, my good friend Dean Brown, Flinders University Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling, Seeley International Managing Director Paul Proctor, and everyone else here today.
You are all very special guests.
Might I say that while you may be a little disappointed that my good colleague Christopher Pyne couldn’t join you today – he has had to attend a meeting with the PM – I have got to say I am delighted.
The reason that I am so pleased to be here representing Christopher and the Australian Government is that I would be hard pressed (as indeed so would others) to think of a better example of what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken about recently in terms of the future our great nation.
As an individual Frank you tick all the boxes, as does your company Seeley International.
Prime Minister Turnbull has made important and refreshing remarks concerning the importance of agility and innovation for our economic future, and the importance of Australian business and enterprises being able to leverage the many opportunities in a changing world rather than trying to future proof ourselves against it.
If you were to look for a case study to flesh out the PM’s comments, you need not look any further than the Seeley International story.
I looked at your company website and noted you have taken on the world!
North America, South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Asia/Pacific region, and of course Australia and New Zealand.
All of this from very humble beginnings, with you Frank manufacturing air conditioners in your home garage back in 1972.
Of course we now all operate in a global highly competitive environment and that does present its challenges, but as you have shown it also presents its opportunities and what is even more impressive is that you manufacture right here in South Australia.
I have been told that this is a ’soft launch’!
So be it. But I have the feeling I don’t think it will be that way for very long.
Innovative, leading edge technology, developed by South Australian engineers of a world first product in one of the most advanced air conditioning units is big news indeed.
I know that there are many significant members of the engineering and innovation sectors here today and what I say to you all is that it is you people and your colleagues, and the students and the teachers, the learning institutions, the start-up companies, the entrepreneurs, and the bold, that will ensure Australia’s future success.
I don’t intend getting too political here today.
Suffice to say that our Government is all about providing a framework, infrastructure, sound policy decisions, favourable global trading environments, and importantly to step out of the way to allow innovation and enterprise to flourish.
My colleague Christopher Pyne has direct responsibilities in relation to his portfolio covering Industry, Innovation and Science, but the Coalition is committed to this approach across all areas of Government.
This is certainly my approach in relation to my role as Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and, as with Industry, there is no reason why Australia cannot be a world leader in these sectors as well.
Let me return to those words of the Prime Minister. We must leverage the many opportunities in a changing world rather than trying to future proof ourselves against it.
Thank you for your welcome today, and now I can’ wait to see what is behind that black cloth!