Interview with Greg Combet

Greg Combet
Greg Combet
Minister for Industry and Innovation
Government of Australia
Government of Australia

Excessive import can lead challenge to the local retailers, manufacturers in Australia. How do you perceive this?

Trade liberalisation results in a wider range of choices for consumers and allows domestic textiles, clothing and footwear manufacturers to specialize in innovative and high value production. We consider that an open and liberal trade environment between Australia and its key trading partners will provide opportunities for Australian firms to increase competitiveness both domestically and internationally. Government is pursuing a number of trade initiatives to ensure Australian industry that has a wide range of trading opportunities with its trading partners

How is the investment scenario currently faring in this industry?

In spite of concerns about global economy, outlook for the Australian economy remains strong. Australia’s economic strength is expected to continue to be underpinned by strong business investment, low inflation, low interest rates, strong export volumes and sustained levels of household consumption. In 2011-12, private new capital expenditure by the textile, leather, clothing and footwear sub-sector was approximately $115 million. This expenditure was in new plant, machinery, equipment and buildings and structures. In 2010-11, business expenditure on research and development was $46 million and has grown strongly at an annual average rate of 3.8 per cent over the past five years. With interest rates currently at three year low and historically high Australian dollar contributing to a relative decrease in the cost of imported capital equipment. Australia has a solid foundation for future investment by textile, clothing and footwear firms.

What is your overview on the future of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Australia’s textile industry?

Australia’s TCF industries are diverse, innovative and encompass a range of activities from processing to manufacturing and marketing, underpinned by world class design expertise. SMEs are the predominant business structure in Australian TCF industries and continue to play an important role in industry’s success and its transition to a niche manufacturer of high tech, high value TCF products. Often, it is the SMEs that are the first to embrace change, coming up with new and innovative ways to differentiate their products through product quality, innovative design, and supply chain management.

What is your perspective on job opportunities in Australia’s textile and clothing wing?

As Australia, continues to transition to a niche manufacturer of high tech, high value TCF products, nature of jobs in industry will continue to change. New technologies such as digital printing, whole garment knitting machines and integrated Computer Aided Design technologies are changing the ways that products are developed and produced and opening up new career opportunities for those considering entering the TCF industries.

Which are your export and import destinations? Moreover, how do you see its market?

Our textile, clothing and footwear imports are sourced predominantly from China, followed by India, New Zealand, Italy and the United States of America. Our main export markets for textiles, clothing and footwear products are New Zealand, China, Italy, the United States of America and Hong Kong.
Published on: 28/11/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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