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Sustainable future for textile, clothing & footwear
Apr '11
Australia's $4.5 billion Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industries are preparing for the opportunities of a low-carbon world, with the support of the Gillard Labor Government.

Opening the inaugural Big Green Conference in Geelong, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr welcomed the commitment of workers and business leaders to a stronger, greener industry.

“Climate change is remaking our environment and our economy,” Senator Carr said. “We can plant a few trees, but they won't shelter our manufacturers from that reality. Good businesses face the facts and find the opportunities – and the Australian Government will help them every step of the way.

“Like most manufacturing industries, TCF faces the challenge of creating sustainable products and business practices in a changing global environment. But the rewards are there for the firms who can adapt first. TCF is well-placed to make that transition.”

Senator Carr said that Australia's TCF industries are diverse, vibrant and looking to the future. Almost one in two TCF firms already invest in innovation – well above the 40 per cent of businesses in all sectors. The Australian Government has invested to build our research strengths in technical textiles and fibre innovation, including $37 million for new textile labs at the CSIRO–Deakin University Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre in Waurn Ponds.

Initiatives like the TCF Strategic Capability Program, a five year $35 million co-investment scheme to build our capabilities, strengthen supply chain management and capture opportunities in green innovation.

“So far, 10 projects have received over $20 million in funding. The projects show the sort of transformation that is possible. Godfrey Hirst, for example, has received over $1.8 million to develop a synthetic carpet that can be produced using less water and energy. Sharcave has received $825,000 to develop a production process for a recyclable synthetic grass product, designed to reduce the volume of synthetic turf being dumped into landfill,” Senator Carr said.

“Continuing to develop our capacity for innovation will enable manufacturing to meet the challenges of the future.”

He welcomed the fact that TCF industry groups had combined to organise a conference to assist the industry respond to the challenges and opportunities of increased community concern about sustainability.

Minister - Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

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