House debates

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Constituency Statements

Mallee Electorate: Manufacturing

10:18 am

Photo of Anne WebsterAnne Webster (Mallee, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I am pleased to bring to the attention of the House two outstanding manufacturing businesses in Mallee. In my travels around the electorate last week I had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Muraca, of Muraca Engineering in Robinvale. Matt is a young man with vision and drive. He completed a fitter and turner traineeship whilst at school and, at the age of 19, he began his own business. Being raised on a fruit property, his love of the land allowed him to incorporate his skills on repairs to farming equipment. However, being a troubleshooter, Matt was not content to just fix things. He began to see gaps in equipment designs and so began fabricating new equipment, systems and solutions to resolve often longstanding issues that producers encounter.

Matt is just 31 years old. He employs seven staff and is looking to expand further. Matt is an innovator and shared his practical solutions to troubling migration and vocational education and training systems—feedback that I was happy to take on board. Matt is about to apply for round 2 of the $52 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. I've been encouraging businesses in my electorate to apply, as I want to attract as much investment into Mallee as possible. It would be fantastic to see growth in new technologies that will drive innovation, productivity and create jobs.

I know the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, is also keen to see regional manufacturing expand and grow. In fact, today she will be joining me for a virtual tour at a new facility, Australian Plant Proteins, in Horsham. Established in 2016, this exciting business has developed its own process to extract protein from Australian-grown raw materials. With an initial capacity of 2½ thousand tonnes, the business hopes to expand to 6,000 tonnes by the end of next year. This is a wonderful value-adding manufacturing business which is maximising raw Australian products. Plant proteins play a foundational role in many manufactured products, including cereals, meat, pet food and baby formula. The opportunities are endless. Minister Andrews and I will be meeting with co-founder and director Brendan McKeegan, who is passionate about his business and the Horsham region. Chris Sounness, CEO of the Wimmera Development Association, will be joining us.

Growing our manufacturing sector through the government's Modern Manufacturing Strategy is a key pillar of Australia's economic recovery. Supporting businesses such as Muraca Engineering and Australian Plant Proteins will mean more jobs and more productivity in our regions.