Topics: National Innovation and Science Agenda, plebiscite
I'm delighted to be here at DuluxGroup with Patrick Houlihan, CEO of Dulux.
One of Australia's great brands and great companies – four thousand employees worldwide, over 3000 here in Australia, a revenue of $1.7 billion.
But what's really interesting is that this is a firm which brings together industry and innovation and science.
The message is very clear – the jobs of the future aren't just in new tech start-ups – they are fundamental – but they are in particular, in existing businesses that are doing things in new ways.
And Dulux is an example. We're seeing a $165 million investment here in Melbourne in new plant and new manufacturing.
New jobs, new manufacturing, new investment. Everybody wins.
And so this is about a great Australian firm with a great Australian brand doing things in new ways.
People are learning, people are evolving, and its jobs right across the spectrum, whether it's in construction, whether it's in research, whether it's in manufacturing.
So you see an Australian firm doing new things and creating new jobs.
The bigger story is that we have an opportunity for 500,000 plus new jobs, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, through innovation in Australia.
And what is innovation? It's about new ways of doing things. Competitiveness.
Sixty per cent of our productivity in this country comes from innovation.
And so it's not just about the new firms – although we will be encouraging and driving venture capital and start-ups in Australia – but in particular it's about the existing firms.
And so Patrick, what you've created here is fundamental. It's about the pathway to half a million new jobs in Australia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
And that means people in all walks of life have the opportunity to protect their job, to improve their job, or to gain a new job. And I think that's very exciting.
And then what as a government are we doing? There’s short, medium and long term.
In the short term it's about making sure that we have, at the smaller level, the business advisers and the entrepreneurs program, the R&D incentives, which have benefitted firms right across Australia such as Dulux.
In the medium term it's about the venture capital and the biotech and the CSIRO funds.
And in the longer term it's about our investment in science and maths for young people, and also in the super-science of the Synchrotron and the Square Kilometre Array.
So these are some of the things that we're doing, that's the story. We're helping innovation, but innovation is helping create half a million new jobs potentially, according to PwC.
And here in Victoria, Dulux is investing $165 million. So it's a great story. Paddy, do you want to say something about what you're doing?
Well thank you Minister for making the time to come here today. At Dulux, we've been around for close to 100 years, and at the heart of our organisation is science, and bringing that to life through marketing and the power of the Dulux brand that impacts everyone's homes every day of their lives.
And beyond that, we also own the Selleys business, the Yates garden business, the B&D garage door business.
So we're a business with 13 manufacturing sites in Australia. We employ about 140 chemists and technologists.
Industry, innovation and science are fundamental to what's made our business great.
And it’s what impacts consumers' lives every day, and we'll continue to remain committed to that.
And we certainly appreciate the support of government, both federally and state as we look to continue to take our business forward, so thank you for coming.
Brilliant, thank you.
Minister, you say the innovation push needs to be broadened to include existing businesses.
How do you exactly go about selling and promoting this innovation agenda? Has the Government to this point really failed to sell it to existing businesses?
Look I think it's about taking a great program, the National Innovation and Science Agenda, but making sure that it's relevant to people from all walks of life.
That means, as I saw on Friday in my own electorate, an animal health business which is developing new technology to expand their production and allow for effectively telemedicine for farm animals.
What we see here at Dulux is, right behind us, the scientists who are creating new brands of paint, new resistants, new polymer connections, which allows us to have higher quality, longer lasting, more durable paints, broader colour regimes – things which actually matter to people's lives, and they create jobs and create futures for existing businesses.
So my job is to say to Australians that new ways of doing things are exciting, and they're all about your jobs.
And if I achieve one thing in this role, it's to give Australians confidence that there can be more jobs and brighter futures and better incomes for all Australians by embracing innovation, or put simply, new ways of doing things.
Do you think there is an underlying concern through amongst workers at existing businesses that innovation could see them lose their job?
Well many workers are naturally concerned about their jobs, and a fundamental task is to take the Dulux story of new ways of doing things, creating new manufacturing jobs here in Melbourne, new construction jobs here in Melbourne and new innovation jobs here in Melbourne.
So you see the three pillars of the portfolio, industry, innovation and science all coming together.
And the bottom line is there's the potential for half a million new jobs going forward.
Just on another issue, if you don't mind – Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has written to the Prime Minister saying there's no need for a plebiscite on marriage equality.
He says he's written on behalf of Victorians. You're a Victorian, what's your take on it?
Well I couldn't disagree more strongly with Daniel Andrews.
Every Australian has a right to a say, every Australian should have a say.
And why Mr Andrews would deny Australians a vote, a say, a role in the democratic process is utterly beyond me.
Do you think it's wrong for the Premier to be interfering in what is a Federal issue?
Look, it's a matter for the Premier, but let all Victorians know, Daniel Andrews doesn't trust them to have a vote. I do.