The diversity of finalists for the 50th anniversary of the Australian Export Awards reflected the country's growing trade and investment links with Asia, Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said today.
Announcing the 78 finalists, Dr Emerson said the 50th anniversary of the awards event provided the occasion to reflect on Australia's economic transformation over the past decades.
"The diversity of this year's finalists shows how far we have come in 50 years, as well as providing role models as we tackle the challenges ahead," Dr Emerson said.
When the Australian Export Awards began, Australia's biggest market was still the United Kingdom. In 1960, for instance, Asia bought just one-fifth of Australia's goods exports. By 2010 Asia's share of Australia's goods exports had risen to two-thirds.
"The Government's Asian Century White Paper provides the strategic direction we need to ensure these positive trends continue," Dr Emerson said.
Between them, this year's finalists earned more than $8.6 billion in export revenue last year and employed more than 27,000 people.
They range from small, family-run firms to large-scale businesses, providing everything from dairy products to high-tech manufactured goods, education, tourism and healthcare services.
Many have targeted growth and emerging markets, especially in Asia, where rising incomes and a burgeoning middle class are creating demand for a broad range of goods and services.
"The Government recognises the contribution businesses like these make to our economy, which is why we are determined to support them with the measures outlined in the White Paper," Dr Emerson said.
The winners will be announced on Tuesday, 27 November at Parliament House, Canberra. There are 12 industry categories, as well as the Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Award.
The 50th Australian Export Awards program is co-presented by Austrade and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). The Awards are run in collaboration with the States and Territories, which all conduct their own Export Awards program. State and Territory winners progress to the Australian Export Awards as finalists.
For more information about the Australian Export Awards, including a full list of finalists, visit: www.exportawards.gov.au.
- Minister's Office: (02) 6277 4330
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555