Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Industry and State Development. Can the minister provide the house with the outcomes of the recent Australian International Airshow 2007, which was held at Avalon?
Hon. T. C. THEOPHANOUS (Minister for Industry and State Development) — I thank the member for her question. I want to take the opportunity to update the house on the great success of the Australian International Airshow 2007.
Mr Finn interjected.
Hon. T. C. THEOPHANOUS — Yes, there may have been some problems, Mr Finn, with some parking, but I think that was a reflection of just how many people wanted to go to the airshow this year.
In fact the airshow this year attracted a record number of visitors, 182 769 people, which was an increase of 6 per cent on the previous Avalon airshow held in 2005. This yet again shows the importance of this particular airshow.
I know that some members of the opposition want to make light of this by way of interjection. I bear in mind the President’s recent ruling, but when a minister hears interjections, which are essentially inane comments from the opposition, as they are trying to inform the house of a important issue, it takes a great deal of restraint to not respond to them.
The Australian International Airshow is one of our great major events. As members know, Melbourne is now starting to be known right around the world for its major events. It is known as the major events city of the world. It is something we are very proud of and something which the Bracks government has developed to a large extent over the full course of its governance.
The attendance at the airshow, which of course is a major event, is not just a matter of the number of visitors who attend. There has also been a significant increase in the number of exhibitions and exhibitors at the show. In fact those people who did attend would have noticed a significant increase in the number of exhibitors at the airshow. We had 611 exhibitors there. That is a huge number of people — —
Mr Hall — Was Gippsland Aeronautics one of those?
Hon. T. C. THEOPHANOUS — It was one of them. The emergence of that company has been a very important initiative, as Mr Hall knows. It creates a significant number of jobs and has produced a very good product, which has been sold internationally. That underlines the importance of the airshow. It is not just an event to which a whole lot of people go to watch a show.
Hundreds of companies from around the world and throughout Australia come together and essentially do business in this state, providing work and additional economic growth.
It was very important for us to see that second part of the show being developed in conjunction with the spectacular aspects that attract people to it, year on year. In fact economic analyses of the airshow have shown that even as far back as 2005 the airshow injected $100 million into the Victorian economy and created about 1800 full-time equivalent jobs. We will continue to do an analysis for each airshow, and we expect the analysis of the 2007 event to show even greater numbers.
The airshow plays a vital part in advancing Victoria’s aerospace and aviation industry. For those who might not understand how important it is, it is worth $600 million to the Victorian economy. It directly employs 5000 people and it is responsible for annual exports of $250 million — and that amount is increasing.
A number of Australian companies are now getting into the global economy and creating new products and new technology, which are being integrated into global production systems that now dominate the aerospace industry. Many arrangements and agreements were made and brought into play as a result of the airshow, which will ultimately result in what we all want in this state — that is, economic growth and jobs for the state.
I will give members a couple of examples. GKN Aerospace and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company have confirmed that they are working together to address an opportunity to commence the manufacture in Australia of major composite components for the F35 joint strike fighter program. GKN is evaluating establishing a new composite component manufacturing facility in Melbourne, and this would involve the creation of around 200 jobs. I spoke to representatives of both GKN Aerospace and Lockheed Martin at the airshow. We brought the players together. If we get an outcome from this, it will have a significant economic impact on this state, because we will see a contribution to the worldwide production of the F35 joint strike fighter program.
I could go on to mention all of the other tangible business results that came from the airshow, but more broadly I say that each year it is held this is a major event in all senses of the word. We are very proud to have it held in Melbourne and to have the outcomes in terms of jobs for our community.