Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Industry and State Development. Will the minister inform the house about the upcoming Avalon international airshow and its benefits to the Victorian economy?
Hon. T. C. THEOPHANOUS (Minister for Industry and State Development) — I am very pleased to have this question from the member because it is opportune to reflect on the importance of the Avalon international airshow to the Victorian economy. I want to take the house through just how important this issue is, because it is not just a question of having an airshow that attracts many thousands of people — in 2005 it attracted 170 000 people — there is the benefit arising from having a major event of this sort in Melbourne, which is a very important benefit for the state of Victoria.
But there is also another element to this. Members may not be aware that Victoria’s aerospace and aviation sector is important in its own right in creating jobs and investment in this state. Victoria accounts for a third of the national industry in this sector; it is worth $600 million annually to Victoria. It directly employs 5000 people and annually exports around $250 million worth of aircraft, systems and components. The airshow provides the opportunity for the sort of networking that is necessary in order for this industry to be maintained.
I inform the house that I will be meeting with a number of manufacturers during the course of the airshow to try to continue to attract these businesses and industries into Victoria. The key exhibitors will include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls-Royce, BAE systems, European Aeronautics Defence and Space and Pratt & Whitney. That is a small part of some of the exhibitors people will find there. People may not be aware that there is also an indoor exhibition at the Avalon airshow that takes up 12 500 square metres — the largest of any show to date.
In all approximately 100 Victorian aerospace, aviation and defence companies will be exhibiting at this year’s show. To underline the importance of the show, the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research studied the 2005 airshow, which revealed that it injected nearly $100 million into the Victorian economy and created over 1800 full-time jobs.
Just for the Geelong region alone — I know the honourable member is very interested in that region — it delivered $15.6 million in economic benefits and 222 full-time equivalent jobs.
This is a major event that has been able to be held in this state for a number of years. It is important that it continue and is part of what we do to support a very important industry that employs 5000 Victorians.