Businesses suggest to parliamentary inquiry need to capitalise on overseas markets

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry examining how to boost exports from regional areas has sat in Ballarat, hearing from a variety of key groups and businesses in the city.

 The inquiry into how to boost exports from regional areas met in Ballarat. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

The inquiry into how to boost exports from regional areas met in Ballarat. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Western Victoria MP David O’Brien chaired the inquiry at the Ballarat Town Hall on Tuesday. 

“We have heard a range of evidence, some very encouraging evidence, ultimately the city alone exports around $600 million in exports,” he said. 

“We have heard that there are great opportunities to increase those exports, particularly with increased activity in trade delegations and outward bound missions, networking amongst exporters and backing high quality produce.” 

Mr O’Brien is also the chair of the Rural and Regional Committee, which heard the local submissions. 

Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard is also a committee member.

Mr O’Brien said many of the issues heard at the Ballarat hearing were similar issues to what the committee had heard at other regional stops at Portland and Warrnambool.

“Some of the things they are saying need to be done better are things we are in fact doing well but we need to promote those competitive advantages,” he said. 

“They include know-how, manufacturing, businesses that have competitive links into Asia in particular, and also freight logistic support for those businesses.” 

One of the key messages to come from the hearing was the demand from the Asian market for quality items.

The City of Ballarat, Sovereign Hill, Federation University, Ballarat Regional Tourism and Gekko Systems were among the list of groups that made submissions on Tuesday. 

The committee was also expected to make a series of site visits to businesses in Ballarat that were already taking advantage of the export market.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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