Speech by the

Deputy Prime Minister


Minister for Trade

The Hon Tim Fischer MP



Sydney, 10 May 1996

It is with great pleasure that I address this forum today to launch the Smart Card brochures in four languages; Indonesian, Thai, Korean and Mandarin - Publications which will further promote Australia's technological skills in four of the key Asian markets.

But first, I would like to welcome to today's launch,

- distinguished members of the Indonesian and Thai business community,

- representatives of the media from Thailand and Australia,

- members of the Consular Corps, the Smart Card Forum and the Warren Centre.

I would like to offer a special note of thanks to Keycorp who have kindly lent their facilities for today's launch, Keycorp is a good example of Australia's new high-tech companies, many of whom were founded in the 1980's, and many of whom now earn more of their income in exports than from the domestic market.

It is just these kind of companies that are playing a vital role in increasing Australia's exports of sophisticated goods and services.

I realise that most of you here today are very familiar with the Smart Card, but for those who are not, it is a plastic card with microprocessor memory chips embedded in it.

What is important about the Smart Card is that it is more intelligent and a more secure device than the magnetic strip technology.

The smart card has many benefits, not least that it can be used to eliminate cash transactions.

In the passenger transport industry, the Smart Card can replace paper tickets and thereby increase the speed and convenience of boarding.

In health and identification systems the cards can securely carry personal information, including photographic and biodata

As we speak, there are approximately 420 million smart cards in use globally.

- It is estimated that by the end of the decade 3.8 billion cards will be in use

- 25 - 30 per cent of them will be used in the Asia Pacific.

In short, Smart Card technology is revolutionising the way we do business.

The security, convenience and integrity of Smart Card technology is moving us towards a cashless society.

Increasingly these cards are bringing more convenience to the consumer and an increased revenue and marketing potential to service providers.

Australia's Smart Card industry produces a complete range of innovative Smart Card products including cards, terminals, readers, pin pads and keyboards with smart card functionality

Australia is engaged in card design, mask development, application and operating software, development and manufacture of hardware and readers and strategic marketing services.

My government is, naturally, an enthusiastic and committed supporter of the growth of the smart card industry in the Asia Pacific region.

The Government is completely committed to securing improved market access for service providers through multilateral and bilateral processes as well as through regional means. The ongoing work in these areas will significantly open up the market for a variety of products, including Australia's Smart Card industry.

In this way we look forward to encouraging Australia's Smart Card industry base including its manufacturing capacity, and the growth of software design and application.

And we recognise that our future lies in making Australia one of the truly dynamic economies of the Asia Pacific.

I do appreciate however, that many Australians are worried that the Smart Cards may threaten their privacy. I know too, that the industry is worried that such community concerns might put a damper on the promise of bright new export opportunities for them.

Let me say, that as Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister for Trade, I welcome the industry's commitment to working through community concerns to ensure that the interests of individuals are properly respected and that all affected groups are consulted.

In that way, we can achieve efficiencies in our daily lives, secure in the knowledge that we can control who does, and who does not, have information about us and, at the same time, develop effectively an industry with enormous export potential for Australia.

Australian firms are among the world's most competitive, operating at the leading edge of their industries using world best practices for overseas markets.

Most of you here will know that Australia was chosen for the first global trials of a number of pilot projects on stored value card applications: Mastercard, Visa, Quicklink and Transcard.

The decision to do this in Australia indicates the high level of sophistication in Australia's market and that the capability is here to sustain these projects.

It also demonstrates that Australian firms are among the world's most competitive, operating at the leading edge of their industries using world best practices for overseas markets.

The compositional change in our exports has been as interesting and important as the directional change.

In ten years, manufacturers and services, as a share of total exports, have risen from less than one third to almost half.

Our exports of manufacturers have recorded annual trend growth of 15 per cent over the past decade, and are now valued at over $22 billion.

More than two-thirds of these manufactured exports are elaborately transformed manufacturers. ETM exports, which range from high speed catamarans to specialised telecommunications equipment, are growing even faster than manufactures as a whole - 17 per cent per annum during the last decade.

Services exports are a success story too. Representing nearly a quarter of total exports, they are worth more than the combined value of coal, gold, wool and beef. The strongest performers have been travel and education services, both just pipping ETMs for the highest growth-rate - 18 per cent.

Smart Cards will provide an added dimension to our growing international competitiveness across the broad range of our services sector.

- they will help promote exports of computer software and enhance the performance of Australia's banking, finance, telecommunications and travel industries.


In closing.I would like to thank the Warren Centre, the industry-linked `think-tank' who provided the catalyst for the formation of the Asia Pacific Smart Card Forum. Their contribution to this product, and to Australia, will help Australians' focus on how best to take advantage of emerging Smart Card market opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

I would like to wish the Forum and its members much success in its export activities.

These brochures will ensure that Australia's Smart Card capabilities will be well promoted in this dynamic region.

Finally, I would like to close with a small anecdote which shows how important promotional activities are.

A senior executive of the Salim group, represented here today by Mr Suryono Hidayat, made the following comments in a report on sourcing information technology for their company, one of the largest in Indonesia:

"The information technology areas of the Salim group only thought of the USA as their information technology supplier. Now, because of the work by Australian companies in the Asia Smart Card Forum they will think of Australia"

Thank you.

Return to Minister for Trade speech index

Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy

Local Date: Tuesday, 07-Jan-2014 10:11:43 EST