Export hub boost to put Mackay on the map
OUR region is set to become an international exporter of METS collaborations, innovations, consultation and manufacturing.
The Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday Mining Equipment Technical Services export hub is currently in development after securing a $353,000 grant from the Federal Government to establish a small and medium enterprises export hub.
The Local Buying Foundation and State Government matched the funding, which totalled an investment of $706,840 for a two-stage project over the next three years.
"This funding will really be able to invest in building Mackay into a METS sector capital and bring more investment and businesses to our region that complements the current services,” Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke said.
"This export hub will provide opportunities for businesses in the community to introduce METS products and services to an international community.”
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The application for funding was lodged through RIN's International Trade Committee, made up of Greater Whitsunday Alliance, Regional Development Australia Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Trade and Investment Queensland and Mackay Regional Council.
Ms Rourke said stage one of the project would be creating a strategic plan of market analysis.
"The analysis will review international markets in relation to our regional market,” she said.
"The analysis will inform the development of the METS export strategy.”
Stage two would involve engaging an export hub manager who would be responsible for driving the implementation of the strategy and providing professional support and direction to its participants.
Ms Rourke said the export hub would be incorporated into the Resources Centre of Excellence - the innovation, training and development facility in the final design process and looking to begin construction this year at Paget.
"The facility will be managed by RIN and the SME export manager will be a critical function of the Resources Centre of Excellence,” she said.
Dawson MP George Christensen welcomed the investment into the region's leading METS sector.
"This is a fantastic boost for our world-class METS sector and it will not only increase our opportunities for export, it will create jobs into the future for our region,” he said.
"I congratulate those involved in this export hub for their vision and hard work to put us on the map as leaders in this field.”
The export hub will be based in Mackay, but will service opportunities across the entire Bowen, Galilee and Surat Basin resource sectors.
As Mackay's METS sector repositions itself to become a more diversified market, opportunities for local businesses are cropping up.
Ms Rourke said as significant defence department projects - such as the Land 400 contract - rolled out, the region's METS industries were taking the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the development and support of military and defence programs.
"For example, the Rheinmetall operation at Ipswich had provided contracts to several businesses in the region. These businesses were now a part of the regional supply chain, developing heavy pieces of machinery for the defence operation,” she said.
"Defence contracts require a very similar working environment to that of the resources sector when it comes to safety standards and certification. Many of Mackay's businesses maintain these requirements due to the expectations of the mining industry.”
Ms Rourke said the Federal Government was committed to maximising opportunities for competitive businesses; building export potential, depth of skills and diversification for defence industry and cutting red tape to make it more simple and less costly for industry to support defence.
She said local businesses had the capability to match skills and develop innovative solutions for defence sector requirements.
She said some local businesses had already begun supplying services to the defence sector.
AIMS OF THE EXPORT HUB
- Development and implementation of a targeted Export Strategy for the MIW METS Sector
- Dedicated resource to foster and drive export focused activities
- Acceleration and commercialisation of export pathways
- Identification of a wider ecosystem of potential participants
- Greater access to export specific training, market intelligence and financial support
- Establish the MIW METS brand as innovative, responsive and globally competitive
- Current and Future International Market analysis
- Better informed, educated and trained METS SME stakeholders in the export function and markets
- Establish the MIW METS Sector as a centre for world's best practice in global resource supply chains.