Monday, 2 May 2016
Calwell Electorate: CSL Behring
On Monday 25 April, CSL Behring celebrated 100 years of operations. I was very fortunate to attend a commemorative tour of the CSL Behring's facility in my electorate of Calwell, and later a formal dinner to celebrate the CSL's centenary on 14 April.
CSL originally was known as the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. It was established in 1916 by the Australian government as a small branch of the quarantine department. The impetus for establishing CSL was to ensure that Australia, as an isolated nation, had reliable access to life-saving biological products during times of war. Since its creation 100 years ago, CSL has expanded well beyond its initial remit to become Australia's largest and most successful biotechnology company. Some of CSL's remarkable milestones over the last 100 years include, in 1920, the production of three million vaccine doses to battle the Spanish flu pandemic. In 1923, CSL was one of the first laboratories in the world to offer insulin and within months was able to service all Australians with diabetes. In 1944, CSL began the production of penicillin and became the first country in the world to provide penicillin to its civilians. In 1952, CSL began plasma fractionation in Australia, while in 1953 CSL began producing the polio vaccine and, within a decade, they had produced more than 25 million doses, virtually eliminating the disease in Australia. These examples illustrate CSL's commitment and contribution to saving lives and helping people with life-threatening medical conditions here in Australia.
CSL is also a commercial success story today. It is a $45 billion dollar global company that operates in more than 30 countries, manufactures across three continents and employs more than 16,000 people. At the centenary dinner last month, CSL chairman, John Shine, outlined how the company has developed in the last 100 years. I want to quote from John Shine. He said:
One hundred years ago it really started out bringing international medicine and new developments in health care into Australia to protect the Australian population. One hundred years later it is now exporting Australian ideas and Australian developments and innovation to the world.
CSL is a success story for my electorate. In 1990, CSL took control of a Commonwealth Department of Health plasma plant in Broadmeadows. This site has seen extraordinary development, the most recent of which was announced in 2014: a $210 million expansion of its manufacturing site in Broadmeadows to help meet growing demand for its global critical care therapy, known as albumin. Albumin is the most abundant protein in human plasma. It is also used to restore blood volume in people following trauma or major surgery and to support patients with extensive burns or serious infections. (Time expired)