Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

5 February 2009

Global Opportunities program to help industry clusters access export markets 

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, today announced that the Austrade-managed Global Opportunities program will provide export and investment facilitation services as well as funding support of up to $1.8 million over the next three years to eight industry clusters of Australian companies, to help them expand their international business activities.

Mr Crean said that many Australian businesses – particularly small and medium-sized enterprises – lacked the scale, expertise and access to information that is necessary to identify and successfully bid for contracts in global supply chains or major projects internationally.

“By encouraging individual enterprises within a sector to form clusters we can better help these industries, as well as individual businesses, to become internationally competitive and, consequently, to promote their long-term sustainability and help protect employment opportunities.

“It is particularly important in the current difficult business environment that we maximise the ability of Australian businesses to combine their efforts in taking their world-class products and services to global markets.

“By working together within an industry cluster, individual enterprises can present a much stronger value proposition in a highly competitive international marketplace than they may be able to achieve individually.

“The eight industry clusters accepted into the Global Opportunities program are: Mining Technology and Services; the Australian Railway Industry’s Campaign; HealthTeam Australia; Scientific Products and Services Export Expansion Program; Australia-Taiwan ICT Cluster; Australian Automotive Aftermarket Export Network; Automotive Interior Systems Australia; and Australian Medical Device Manufacturers.

“Through the Global Opportunities program, Austrade will provide funding and direct support to these industry clusters to help them link into global supply chains and bid for work on major international projects. Additionally, dedicated Austrade officers in Australia and offshore will work with clusters.

“By working with these industry clusters, Austrade will be helping over 100 companies to pursue international opportunities which will assist them to maintain and grow their businesses, even in these challenging economic times.

“As part of the support offered through the Global Opportunities program, Austrade will provide a total of $600,000 annually over three years to fund cluster initiatives that will help them increase their international business success.”

Mr Crean said that he was pleased to see a strong services sector representation in the membership of the clusters including architects, hospital planners, consulting engineers, healthcare management, mining, railway, ICT and environmental services.

“Members of these clusters include advanced manufactures as well as innovative technology and services providers, spanning industries from automotive, rail and mining to ICT, healthcare, medical devices and environmental,” Mr Crean said.

In addition, Austrade will be working with a range of other industry groups that may be interested in forming similar clusters to undertake activities under the Global Opportunities program.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555