Minister for Industry to visit Wollongong and launch Illawarra Manufacturing Expo

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, will visit Wollongong on 30 August to launch an Illawarra Manufacturing Expo being convened by Federal Illawarra Labor MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones.

“Given the specific challenges of the manufacturing industry flowing from a high Australian dollar, we want to bring together a range of Commonwealth Government agencies which are available to provide high-level services and advice to manufacturing businesses in the region.

“There is also an opportunity for the University of Wollongong and the regional manufacturing sector to establish a growing partnership to develop new ideas and innovations, which will create new business opportunities.

“The Commonwealth Government has already been investing to secure the future of the regional manufacturing sector by building the $43.8 million Australian Institute of Innovative Materials Processes, the $25 million Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and the roll-out of the National Broadband Network”, Ms Bird said.

Stephen Jones said, “The Illawarra Manufacturing Expo which we are convening provides a one-stop shop for regional manufacturers to come into direct contact with the range of Commonwealth Government agencies operating right now to help with accessing government programs and funding assistance.

“While there is some pessimism at the moment, the challenges the manufacturing sector faces are due to conditions outside of the influence of the Commonwealth Government, including the high Australian dollar and higher input costs.

“But the future of the regional manufacturing sector lies in new high-value niche markets, innovative ideas and processing, and partnerships with the University of Wollongong.

Both Ms Bird and Mr Jones decided to convene the Illawarra Manufacturing Expo after meetings with local manufacturers over recent weeks highlighted a problem with their awareness of Commonwealth Government programs that are available to the sector.

The Illawarra Manufacturing Expo will be held on Tuesday, 30 August 2011, at the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials Processes, on the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus.

The Commonwealth Government Agencies to be part of the Illawarra Manufacturing Expo includes:
- Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
- Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism
- Enterprise Connect
- AusIndustry
- AusTrade
- Industry Capability Network
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
- Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

Ms Bird and Mr Jones’ initiative has the support of the Australian Industry Group (AiG), the University of Wollongong and Enterprise Connect.