House of Representatives- Isaacs Electorate: Dandenong Manufacturing Centre

I rise to speak about the recent opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre, which forms part of the Rudd government’s Enterprise Connect network, and the many benefits it will bring to the manufacturing industry in the Dandenong region and, more broadly, across Victoria. The opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre will be a boon for small and medium-sized enterprises in my electorate. The importance of the manufacturing industry is felt in my electorate more keenly than most, in particular in the manufacturing hubs of Dandenong and Braeside.

I rise to speak about the recent opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre, which forms part of the Rudd government’s Enterprise Connect network, and the many benefits it will bring to the manufacturing industry in the Dandenong region and, more broadly, across Victoria. The opening of the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre will be a boon for small and medium-sized enterprises in my electorate. The importance of the manufacturing industry is felt in my electorate more keenly than most, in particular in the manufacturing hubs of Dandenong and Braeside.

I was pleased to be joined at last Friday’s opening by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon. Kim Carr, as well as my local parliamentary colleagues the member for Holt, the member for Deakin and you, Madam Deputy Speaker, in your capacity as the member for Chisholm. We all understand the significance of this new centre to manufacturing businesses in our electorates.

The Dandenong office is one of five manufacturing centres in the Enterprise Connect network across the country. They offer small and medium-sized enterprises a free business review, assistance with strategy and operations, and access to the very latest in research and technological knowledge and advice on how to best access government programs. There are 45 business advisers in the Enterprise Connect network nationwide to assist small and medium enterprises gain new skills, specialist advice and funding opportunities.

At the opening I spoke to one of those business advisers, Mr Raj Gopal, who is keen to start assisting business in the area to improve and grow. I also spoke to the Chief Executive Officer of the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance, or SEMMA, Mr Paul Dowling, who believes that this centre will be an extremely valuable resource for manufacturing enterprises in south-east Melbourne. SEMMA’s offices are fortunate to be in the same building as Enterprise Connect, which will no doubt enable helpful cooperation.

It is important that manufacturing industry, which operates in highly competitive markets and is a crucial industry for Australia’s prosperity, is given support on the ground. Last year, Australian manufacturing exports were worth more than $87.1 billion. But many challenges lie ahead: the worldwide economic crisis, the shortage of skilled staff and infrastructure bottlenecks all affect our manufacturing output. The Rudd government is facing and dealing with these challenges. I firmly believe that through the Enterprise Connect network Australian manufacturing industries will become more innovative, productive and internationally competitive, and in my electorate the Dandenong Manufacturing Centre will be a large part of that.