House debates

Monday, 30 August 2021


Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021; Second Reading

4:24 pm

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to speak on the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry, Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021. Like the previous speaker said, it's really too little, too late for this government. Like the bill that was before the House earlier on today, the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021 is pretty mundane, but in fact it is very important. It has taken this government over six years to get anything to the parliament about it. It's a real indictment of the government. It also goes with their changes earlier this year to the patent laws, making severe changes to the innovation patents, which have severely affected Australian innovative companies, particularly some in my electorate.

I have been writing to several ministers—at present, Minister Porter, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology—about these changes and the damage they're doing to some very innovative companies in my electorate of Macarthur, particularly DECO Group, which is a very innovative company using incredibly modern and new technology to provide coatings on metals that we are now used to seeing—in particular, things like writing and wood coatings on metal that we see at train stations and on new buildings. They produce non-flammable cladding for buildings that are all around our capital cities. Unfortunately, they're being targeted by overseas companies—in particular, Chinese companies—that are dumping things in Australia that are not as good as our technology but at much cheaper prices. They are really damaging our very innovative companies.

I'm pleased that I have the opportunity to speak on this bill. It's a critical piece of legislation because it is also legislation that will help our companies better target their research and development budgets. It's very important for new companies that are springing up around my electorate of Macarthur, which is in the south-west reaches of Sydney. We've clearly been severely impacted by the pandemic. Our new businesses have really been keeping us going in this very difficult time. We've had to deal with the bushfires, floods and the pandemic, as I mentioned. We've had a really challenging few years.

I commenced my local campaign, kickstart Macarthur, last year, petitioning the government to invest in our region, particularly in our innovative companies, to support jobs and support innovation. Some people may not be aware of this, but my electorate is home to some really amazing new businesses. Our manufacturing industry is one sector of Macarthur's local economy that I'm exceptionally proud of. I'm proud of the people who work in these companies. You may not be aware, but a large part of our defence manufacturing comes from Macarthur. There are companies that produce weapons and weapons mountings in my electorate.

There are manufacturers that use advanced and very sought-after technology to produce, as I've mentioned, aluminium cladding, other metal cladding and products for medical industries. I should mention that Professor Graeme Clark, the inventor of the bionic ear, came from my electorate of Macarthur. That's where he grew up. We're very, very proud of that. We have other industries that have followed him in medical technology. We have wonderful, wonderful new companies. Our industries greatly contribute to our local employment and interact very effectively with our high school educators to try and get young Australians coming in to the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is certainly not dead in Australia and neither is science, with a very active university and university medical school as well.

In spite of the significant hurdles local employers have had to overcome in recent years, they continue to provide employment and incomes to Macarthur families. Unfortunately, they continue to be let down by this government. I've long been petitioning the government to invest heavily in my region, and those opposite have consistently turned a blind eye to the needs of my rapidly growing community by refusing to invest in basic infrastructure and services that we need in Macarthur. I've spoken many a time about the desperately needed rail line that will link my community to the new Western Sydney airport. The Western Sydney airport will not only take passengers to and from Australia; it will also take freight—particularly from our burgeoning agricultural sector, from our small businesses and from our manufacturing industry—to the rest of the world. I look forward to the day when we can have great transport infrastructure that links Macarthur to the rest of the world, because I have no doubt that we have products they want. Many a time I have spoken about the desperately needed railway line that will link my community to the airport and to the world; but there are too many other projects that this government is funding in other areas and not in my electorate, despite it being one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic electorates in the country.

I will come to the content of the bill shortly, but one clear way those opposite could support the growing industries of Macarthur is to actually begin investing in it. Those opposite would prefer to fund millions of dollars to provide parks in affluent areas like Hornsby. They are spending over $70 million for a park in North Sydney. What a joke! And they give grants to lucrative sporting clubs, golf clubs and sailing clubs, without investing in the basics for my rapidly growing community. I'm a big believer in science and I'm a big believer in the social determinants of health as well, and these are being ignored in my electorate. These are all interrelated, and the government must be held to account for their failure to invest in my region and, ultimately, its people and future.

This legislation is more of the same from this tired, eight-year-old government that doesn't really know what to do. Those opposite would have you believe, through their spin, that this is a government heavily investing in science and supporting industry. Alas, this legislation does nothing of the sort. What we are debating is essentially a single word to change the name of a government board. We are adding the word 'industry' to Innovation and Science Australia, but those opposite have little time or care for innovation. If they cared for innovation, and cared for industry and jobs, they would be supporting the many local industries not just in my electorate but in other outer suburban electorates and elsewhere, and they would support those firms and those employers that reside in growth areas such as Macarthur.

The bill before the House does nothing to advance the interests of industry, increase innovation or prioritise scientific research. And that is what they should be doing. There is a pattern here. From their changes to the innovation patents, which occurred without proper consultation and without a proper understanding of the effects, to the changes they've brought in with the industry research and development amendment, they show a basic lack of understanding of what is important here: innovation, research and science to help our local companies, our very innovative companies, to provide research and to provide jobs for our future Australians, for our young Australians. It's all spin and slogans from that side, and very little substance. They don't understand the basics of science innovation.

Science is something the government lacks any real policy on. Australia is home to some of the best universities in the world, ranking sixth overall for the quality of our universities. However, according to the Global Innovation Index, Australia is ranked 23rd among the 49 high-income economies and we have gone back three positions since 2018. On this index, Australia scores at well below average for knowledge and technology outputs. Since the coalition entered office, Australia has lost over 90,000 jobs in Australian manufacturing. There are 140,000 fewer people doing an apprenticeship or traineeship than there were seven years ago.

Labor agrees that the government needs to think more about the links between industry, innovation and science. The facts are quite clear: we're falling behind. This is a real problem for young Australians—that includes my children and my grandchildren—and we must do better. If the Morrison government spent as much time addressing the problems they've created as they do on marketing slogans and focus groups, Australia would not be falling behind in areas where we should have a comparative advantage.

Labor has a plan for building Australian industry, innovation and science that is more than just spin. We understand and value the critical role science and innovation play in preparing our economy and our industry for the future. It's not just things like the bionic ear that Australia has done so well on in the past. In medicine, we were part of the story of the invention of antibiotics, of penicillin, with Howard Florey. There was the cochlear implant, which I've mentioned. We talk about things like the black box flight recorder, polymer banknotes, and Gardasil HPV immunisation for the prevention of cervical cancer. We've had many, many innovative companies and many, many great scientists that we need to support, and this needs to go to the future. We can't just stop where we are; we have to push ahead and we have to do better.

Australian scientists and innovators deserve better than being told by the Prime Minister: 'We've got the best plan. Take it on board.' We haven't got the best plan. We need to do better for the future. We need to import ideas and invest in ideas. We need to invest in research and development, and just focusing on trivial name changes is a very poor strategy. This bill does very little other than focus our attention on how poor this government has been in innovation and on science.

We need to do better with our outcomes and we need to focus on every innovative Australian company that we can find in each electorate around Australia and provide them with the support and encouragement to do better, to develop their ideas, to provide employment and to get our young people investing in sciences and doing what they can to move Australia forward. We can't rest on our laurels. We're not just a country that digs things out of the ground and plants things and grows them; we are a country that grows ideas and uses science to advance us towards the future. We support this bill, but much, much more needs to be done. I thank the House.

4:37 pm

Photo of Tim WilsonTim Wilson (Goldstein, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I have to start these remarks on the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021 with disappointment resulting from the comments of the previous speaker, who firstly dismissed our primary industries and said we need not care for sectors like mining and agriculture—those that create the wealth of the nation. In fact, they're the ones that empower innovation. One of the biggest sectors that we have is mining technology, which enables those sectors to be globally competitive, to more efficiently use the world's scarce resources and to be productive. Even without those sectors, we would lack the capacity to excel in some innovative sectors, but they create the wealth that supports so much of the rest of the economy.

The basic foundation of an economy starts with primary industries and builds up in manufacturing, particularly an advanced manufacturing base, and enlivens the services sector, which is all funded from the wealth created by primary industries. So it disappoints me that we have to start here, but this ultimately goes to the heart of the challenges for the Labor Party, because not only are they poor managers of matters like the nation's finances; they don't understand how the economy is structured and how wealth is created so that we can enjoy the bounty of our nation.

If you want an innovative country, you need to realise the opportunities from your natural bounty and take advantage of them in an efficient way but, more critically, utilise that wealth for the growth of other sectors of the economy, increasingly in an environmentally sustainable way. We do deeply care about the environment and our sense of stewardship to it, but we do this because the efficient use of the world's scarce resources is better for productivity, better for capital growth, better for efficiency and, increasingly—as the member for Brisbane, the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, will tell us—is better around the role of a circular economy, where we can repurpose so much of what we have used and disused to be able to build a future in a more environmentally sustainable, economically growth-forward agenda.

Let's face it: in the end, this bill doesn't do anything particularly significant, but it's still required to be legislatively done by adding the extra I into the acronym of IISA. Perhaps it's to ensure it's not confused with that dubious and increasingly—what would you call it?—abandoned-ship organisation Industry Super Australia. You wouldn't want to confuse it with that. IISA is obviously focused on the innovation industry and the capacity to advance economic growth and scientific research, and the commercialisation of it in our great country.

One of the strengths of our innovation model in this country is that we don't look to this chamber and think that all answers happen here, or even that it all occurs in big corporates. We realise that the nucleus of innovation often comes from individuals or small groups of people working collaboratively together to address modern challenges. Innovative industry goes to the heart of what we want to see for the growth of our economy, because it matters so much for the future of our economy, particularly against the backdrop of changing structures and supply chains, particularly in the context of advanced manufacturing.

I'm sure you will recall, Deputy Speaker Wallace, an extensive paper was written on this last year for ASPI. I'm quite interested in the topic and how there is a shift in the supply chains, particularly in advanced manufacturing, and the limitations and issues that expose Australia to resource constraints in particular, but also to make sure there is a broader hedging of risk. Not all supply chains go through one nation, which risks not just disruption in areas like those that we experienced last year with PPE and pharmaceuticals, so we need to be more economically resilient as a country in working with other nations where they're less likely to disrupt our supply chains and more likely to share our values, and we're in a position to provide reliability for them as well as for ourselves. That goes to the heart of what the Morrison government is focusing on in Modern Manufacturing Strategy—recognising that having that domestic capability in some sectors is not just critical today, but is going to be even more critical in the future as those supply chain vulnerabilities present themselves in a global economy.

Now, we are not protectionists on this side of the chamber, Deputy Speaker. I'm sure I see you nod in agreement. We are not protectionists on this side of the chamber, but we also—

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I couldn't possibly nod while I'm in the chair. I'm in a position of impartiality.

Photo of Tim WilsonTim Wilson (Goldstein, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I have taken the metaphorical or interpretive nod from you, Mr Deputy Speaker. We are not protectionists on this side of the chamber. I'll leave the other side of the chamber to talk about whether they're protectionists or not. It has never been totally clear when you look at their history, particularly some of the scandalous behaviour in the early part of the 20th century and their adoption of not just capital protection of industry, but protection around keeping some people, based on the ethnicity and the colour of their skin, out of the country—particularly through the use of the trade union movement, as a political weapon. We are not protectionists in this country. We believe that Australia's economic capacity is built on us being competitive, is built on us harnessing our natural endowment, and, of course, value adding to the sector in a competitive way. We rely on countries that are also free trade nations—or, I should say, freer trade nations—to be part of our growth model, because we can't do everything well. There are some things we do exceptionally well, and we want to share that with the world. This is a simple observation, but countries that trade tend to do a lot better than those who seek to indulge in protectionism. But that doesn't change the fact that we do face challenges around supply chains, around choking points that can exist and particularly around making sure that, through geography as well as broader geostrategic political risks—pandemics and health security risks—we hedge our bets to make sure we are in a resilient position. Of course, domestic industry build-up is going to be a critical part of that.

The previous speaker, the member for Macarthur, despite his disappointing reflections on sectors like mining and agriculture, did acknowledge that a sovereign capacity is going to be important, and some of it is located in his electorate, in the context of defence and defence manufacturing, and the role that can play as part of our national security framework.

Of course we've seen discussions and measures implemented by this government in this term of parliament around broadening the base of fuel security so that both our Defence Force and our civilian capacities are increased against the challenges we may face with external risks and threats. And of course there's the advanced manufacturing strategy which is being pursued by the government. That is to say that even when there are sectors where we perform very well or where we have natural endowments in emerging sectors, like rare earths, we put the policy framework in place to make sure that we can realise everything we as a country want to be in terms of building the opportunities for the 21st century. Sitting behind that is going to be a critical understanding not just of how we grow the economy in a way which doesn't foster or pander to protectionism but which does take advantage of our knowledge and our skills, and that this government, this parliament and our nation can back those who want to be part of building the next chapter in the global economy—with Australia at the forefront.

Of course, this isn't just in the sectors I have outlined. One of the critical parts of that conversation is in the energy environment. We have gone through long debates in this chamber and in the other place—and, of course, in the public square—about the future of the Australian energy market and Australia's energy resilience as we have seen a shift and transition away from the traditional dependence on brown and black coal, which were a critical part of our past and are a continuing part of our present but which are a diminishing share of our future. We have seen the rise of other technologies which can make us an energy exporter. We can continue to adapt, obviously, not just to the power of technology and innovation, and what those can do for Australia as an exporter. More critically, those are going to become an increasing part of consumer and business demand into the future so that they can meet other obligations, including reduced emissions profiles and economic competitiveness. There will also be an environment where energy is likely to change in its cost profile. In some places it's going to be more efficient if we harness the potential of cheap energy which costs less to transport—we might be in the position to build domestic sectors off that. We can all be proud of that and maybe replace some of the jobs which may be offset by other parts where there is a decrease in demand over time.

That's why we should always be optimists about the future. The future is going to be awesome off the back of technological advancement and change. The only thing that holds us back is whether we are prepared to run to it and embrace it, to see what it can do and how we can be part of leading that change to make sure that we build a better Australian economy for the future. That's what this bill is ultimately about. It's making sure that its focus is squarely put on the importance of industry, innovation and science for Australia so that we have an organisation that's looking into sectors where Australia can excel, where we can continue to contribute and where we can leverage existing sectors that we have. IISA—again, not to be confused with that nefarious body Industry Super Australia—will continue to complement and be informed by the work of other advisory bodies, such as the National Science and Technology Council, with a focus on the needs of business, to support greater uptake and development of new technologies, products and services.

I think that this broader strategic shift, as well as what's in the legislative proposal before us today, is of such critical importance because, when I look over my entire parliamentary career, we've had issues—without seeking to diminish them at all—which are cyclical, or which we might come across as the result of events or fads. When I say 'fads' I mean that events might lead people to suddenly get very exercised about an issue at a particular point in time. They might write to me or to the member for Barker, or even to you, Deputy Speaker Wallace, and have very strong views and want parliamentary action. Of course, I don't take anything away from those issues; they're of the utmost importance and, where we confront them, hopefully, we address them. But in almost every space where we get a sustained interest—at least from the wonderful residents of Goldstein—it's largely about how we utilise technology to be part of securing and building Australia's future.

I always have enormous sympathy for being a very strong friend of technological innovation and its capacity to be part of owning the future, growing jobs, building industry and being on the side of the future of the country—not just for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren. We don't just want to respond to the times; we want to lead them, we want to charge and we want to make sure that we're not just seeing the terms for ourselves but in the global economy so we can take full advantage of it.

One of the areas where I also get a lot of feedback, as many members no doubt do, is in the space around Australian security and the tension that exists in that nexus between being open, free and competitive while also ensuring we protect our nation. As I said right at the start, a critical part of that conversation was exposed last year as a result of the pandemic and the challenges of supply chains going principally through a single country. Thankfully the drift was already there towards regionalisation of supply chains to address those emerging risks, not just for the pandemic but also for the economic risks and the like.

What we know, at least on this side of the parliament, is risk is there to be managed; it is not there to be something that we wish to try and pretend we can make disappear. We know that risk has to be managed, and one of the worst ways to manage risk is to take on all responsibility and think you can do everything in isolation. As a country, you can't, because you might lack the skills, the knowledge, the primary inputs and, of course, the intellectual capital that comes with it as well as the manufacturing base. We know we rely on others to do so successfully, so hedging risk means working with others.

The objective of this bill focusing on industry and innovation is to make sure that Australia is part of the global cooperate effort of defining the future. We will do that by making sure we are a strong nation in our own right. Poor countries are weak countries; rich ones are strong. We back Australia every step of the way, not just our own potential, our ingenuity, our innovation, our capacity, but our people, those who are innovators, those who are business people, those who commercialise and develop and sell products, goods and services that help enrich our country. When they look at this parliament, they have a choice. They can look at the Labor Party and see a political movement that is interested in harvesting them for their knowledge and skills for their own benefit, whereas we on this side are interested in backing them for their success. (Time expired)

4:52 pm

Photo of Patrick GormanPatrick Gorman (Perth, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Western Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] This Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021 will put the word 'industry' back into Innovation and Science Australia. It is a renaming bill. It is not particularly exciting but it is this government's priority. It means that Industry Innovation and Science Australia will join a long list of famous name changes. The Quarrymen became the Beatles. Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan. Reginald White became Elton John. Prince became an unpronounceable symbol. The Cockroaches became The Wiggles and then they became woke, and now Innovation and Science Australia will become Industry Innovation and Science Australia. I'm looking forward to the first album! But unfortunately this bill does little else. It's typical of this government—a failure to give Australian industry and manufacturing the support they need. It's another bill where we see a lot of talk but very little action.

The opportunities that come from greater investment in innovation and industry, in more Australian manufacturing, are obvious. But, unfortunately, when it comes to this government you always have to spell out the obvious, and what is obvious is that you can't be a nation-building government unless you look at the success of previous nation-building governments: the Whitlam government—sewerage through the suburbs of Western Sydney; the Hawke and Keating government—reforming our industry so that you can have a proper open economy where Australian manufacturing can be part of that global economy; and the Ruddock and Gillard governments, who did, unlike the government that followed them, support the Australian automotive manufacturing industry.

I believe that Australia needs to be a country that makes things again. Growth in manufacturing will benefit all Australians. It's one of Australia's most evenly distributed industries, accounting for almost seven per cent of jobs in every state. Every state has a manufacturing industry base that employs hundreds of thousands of people across our country. When we look at what we want to achieve when it comes to diversification of our international trade, we know that most international trade is manufacturing related. Manufactured products accounted for over 70 per cent of global merchandise trade in 2018. The manufacturing trade is worth some US$14 trillion.

Manufacturing is the missing piece of the Australian economy. We are No. 1 when it comes to the export of iron ore; we're No. 2 when it comes to aluminium ores, zinc and lead; No. 3 when it comes to exporting copper, in terms of value; and we have four of the top seven universities internationally for mining engineering. Manufacturing is that missing middle bit. We lead the world in producing the inputs that go into manufactured resources. We lead the world when it comes to educating people on how to deal with those resources. But we are so far behind when it comes to using the resources that we mine, many of which are mined in the great state of Western Australia. So we need a federal government that has a comprehensive plan. The world wants to invest in Australia: in 2020, foreign investment in Australia was some $3,990 billion, a $97 billion increase on the year before.

What do we need from the federal government? We need a federal government that properly invests at scale in Australia. With just seven per cent, manufacturing accounts for a smaller share of national employment in Australia than it does in any other OECD economy. What we've seen since the turn of the century is that manufacturing has lost close to 200,000 jobs in Australia. A study from Harvard University and their Growth Lab ranked the most complex economies in the world. On that complexity scale, Australia ranked 93rd, just above Pakistan and behind Morocco, Uganda and Senegal. Since 2000, we've fallen 29 places. We are going backwards at a very, very rapid rate. When it comes to manufacturing self-sufficiency, Australia ranks last among OECD nations. Our imports of all manufactures are about three times bigger than our exports. We had a manufacturing trade deficit of over $180 billion in 2019.

That's where we are right now. Despite this, Australia's manufacturers are ready. They make a disproportionately high contribution to national trade performance. We saw that manufactured product accounted for some $95 billion in export sales in 2019, and we know that if we get manufacturing right for the future that's what's going to give young Australians the job opportunities they want. Despite the talk we have from the Treasurer and others about how great the job market is, we know that it's young people who are not going to have those high-paid jobs if we don't take action, if we don't invest in the sorts of new industries and new opportunities that give young people the secure, good-quality jobs that they so much deserve.

When it comes to how we make sure we create those opportunities, we start with the 900,000 Australians working in manufacturing, but it's an ageing industry. The average age of Australians working in the manufacturing industry is 42, two years older than the average Australian worker; 45 per cent of Australian manufacturing workers are over the age of 45; and 20 per cent are over the age of 55. We know that, as we see in some of the industries in the care economy, we're going to have massive deficits through not having enough skilled workers just to keep things as they are, let alone to grow these industries for the future. Again, they are good-quality jobs: 85 per cent of jobs in manufacturing are full time, and people who work in manufacturing earn seven per cent more than average earnings. More manufacturing in Australia means higher quality, better paying jobs in Australia and more opportunities for young Australians.

When it comes to the outcomes of increasing our manufacturing investment, most countries consume as much manufacturing as they produce, but Australia doesn't—that is, we have a deficit of what we manufacture. The Australia Institute estimates that if we increased our manufacturing to the global standards we'd have $180 billion a year more in new manufacturing output, $80 billion a year in new manufacturing added-value growth and some 400,000 new, direct jobs in manufacturing. This is the opportunity that's in front of us. It's not going to happen by renaming a department; it's not going to happen just by hope or leaving it entirely to the free market. We know that the countries that have high-quality manufacturing, innovation and industry sectors are the ones where the government works hand in hand with industry.

When it comes to Labor's plans, when it comes to the alternatives where it's a bit more than just renaming a piece of legislation or renaming a department, Labor has a clear plan to support industry: a national reconstruction fund. The fund will make sure we rebuild Australia after COVID. It is a plan for the future. It will create a $15 billion capital pool that has the potential to unlock $30 billion or more in investment. It will leverage private contributions and make sure businesses are eligible for loans, equity core investments or guarantees for projects. And what do those projects need to do? They need to deliver strong, good-quality jobs for Australians.

We know that, while we might have low unemployment rates, around two million people are looking for more work. These are the underemployed Australians, who do not have the level of income or the job security from the work they are currently doing that they would like to see in the workplace right now. Manufacturing is so important for that. Government needs to play an active role. We have just been through the biggest economic shock in a century. It's time the government played an active role, just as we did after World War II and, indeed, just as the Rudd and Gillard governments did as we responded to the global financial crisis. Get in there, lend a helping hand and make sure that we build something that lasts for the future. That's the Labor way. A Labor government will partner with businesses to create well-paid, secure jobs. The national reconstruction fund could be the difference between job-creating projects happening or not. If we have a choice between creating jobs for people, getting more people into high-paid, secure jobs or not, we should always lean on the side of taking action.

I speak here from Western Australia—from the cave. Western Australia does have an economic success story. We have good news to share with the nation. Thanks to the ability to keep COVID out of resources and mining, and the energy industry that's been able to continue and stay strong despite what we've seen happen with mining projects and resources projects across the world, which really have suffered during COVID, the Western Australian economy contributes well and above our 10 per cent of population. That's well known to people here in WA. We contribute 16 per cent of Australia's GDP. WA's gross state product is 54 per cent higher than Australia's average state GDP but just four per cent comes from manufacturing. There is so much more potential here. Leveraging the skills, leveraging the investment and leveraging the trade relationships that our mining and resources industry has and turning that into that advanced, elaborately transformed manufacture means that we have more industry for the future. What we know—and we know it here in Western Australia more than elsewhere—is that commodity prices fluctuate, but the ability to retain value, making sure that you support industry, and transform it into a world-leading product that other countries and other businesses want to buy is where economic success lies.

There are also opportunities when it comes to manufacturing and industry with the resources sector. It's projected that this year Australia's resource and energy exports will be some $300 billion—our largest export industry—but mostly shipped overseas for processing. It's projected that lithium exports will increase fivefold between now and 2025. But we're not doing the processing of lithium or any of the value adding here—another missed opportunity where we could use those great Australian scientists, engineers and chemical engineers to make sure that we are investing in ourselves and capturing more of that value here.

The other opportunity, of course, is in renewables and hydrogen. Currently, some 95 per cent of the world's hydrogen production is not renewable hydrogen. The opportunity for Australia to be a renewable hydrogen powerhouse of the world is one that should not be missed. We will always be a net energy exporter. Let's make sure that we're exporting the energy of the future and planning for that now. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation estimates that by 2050 the global revenue from hydrogen could be some US$2.5 trillion per year, and it's up to all of us in this parliament to make sure that we are investing to make sure that we are able to capture as much of that value chain as possible in the years ahead.

I would also like to note that there are a lot of people who've put good, carefully thought-through ideas to the government about how you can do more about investing in WA jobs and in manufacturing here and across the country. I would particularly like to note the work of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who have consistently put out plans for jobs and plans to revive Australian manufacturing. I remember when Treasurer Hockey dared GM-Holden to leave Australia, and indeed they did. When you send a message like that to global manufacturers, they pick up on those signals. But, despite these really heartbreaking pieces of feedback that people in the manufacturing industry have had from this government at times, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union continues to put forward plans for WA jobs and to revive manufacturing in this country.

We've seen an amazing success story in the work that's been done out at Bellevue, which I was fortunate enough to visit with the member for Ballarat a few months ago and where we're now making Western Australia's trains here in Western Australia again. We're not having to rely on purchasing them from overseas, which I know has been an absolute disaster in other states, where they have trains that haven't been the right shape or the right size for their platforms or their tunnels. What we have is about 200 Western Australians working here, making train cars that Western Australians are going to ride on. There's really exciting hope. I would encourage the minister who's sitting at the table to make sure that we continue to talk to the resources sector and the mining sector about how we make sure that we get more of that Australian manufacturing into our mining industry. We know that there's thousands and thousands of kilometres of train track. There are thousands of cars that are moving ore and other things across this state and across our country. The more those are made by Australians in Australia, the better, and the more we can again capture value for manufacturing here in Australia.

I will just finish by saying there's one other thing that we should be manufacturing here in Australia. The legislation I wish we were debating would be about how we get mRNA manufacturing happening here in Australia. Currently we have the ability to manufacture one great vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it's not building that capacity for the future. Getting into the mRNA business is the future, and this government needs to get onto it today. (Time expired)

5:07 pm

Photo of Pat ConaghanPat Conaghan (Cowper, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

If we've learnt one thing from COVID, it's that it has put many things into perspective and has really enhanced a sharper focus on our local communities around Australia and, most acutely, on the need to build Australian resilience by securing sovereign capability and capacity for the national interest. In the words of the member for Goldstein, a rich country is a strong country, and I couldn't agree with him more. Australian industry as a whole needs to scale up in order to achieve this. Sometimes we see silver linings out of devastating circumstances, and this is a silver lining that we can see from COVID. I can guarantee you that most teenagers prior to this pandemic would never have heard the word 'sovereignty'—sovereignty of our borders, sovereignty of our people and sovereignty of our manufacturing industry. We've recognised through that adversity that we must lay the groundwork now to become more competitive and self-sufficient in order to cement our nation's job security not just in the short term but, importantly, for future generations.

We saw the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy established by this government in October 2020, specifically for that purpose—specifically for our future generations, to supercharge our manufacturing industry. To date, ISA has made an important contribution to furthering Australia's innovation in science capabilities and has helped inform the government's investment strategy to enhance Australia's science, technology and innovation capabilities. The potential for ISA to more broadly advise the government around strategic investment has been restricted to date. This bill, the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021, seeks to expand ISA's remit and update its name to Industry Innovation and Science Australia. This change of name is part of a broader policy reform to focus on Australian industry as a whole. The change of name will bring with it the appointment of new board members, a new statement of expectations and the critical provision of advice to government on the Modern Manufacturing Strategy—again, a good result, a silver lining to difficult circumstances. IISA's advice will continue to complement and be informed by the work of other advisory bodies such as the National Science and Technology Council, but, importantly, it will now specifically focus on the needs of businesses to support greater uptake and development of new technologies, products and services. We know businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy.

The introduction of this bill provides the opportunity to highlight what this government has already done in recent months to propel Australia's competitive advantage to new heights through strategic investment in science, technology and innovation. The 2021 budget, announced in October last year, made a record investment of $11.9 billion in science research and innovation. It should be noted that this represents hundreds of millions of dollars more than when the opposition was last in government. The 2021 budget has continued to expand on this, with investments including $116.7 million in continued support for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, to maintain Australia's sovereign nuclear science and medicine manufacturing capabilities, and over $42.4 million over seven years to boost the next generation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I'm very pleased to say that I get involved every year with the Girls in STEM in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour—its first year was a huge success at the Charles Sturt University campus—and I will continue to champion that cause. It gets bigger and bigger every year, and we need to see more girls and more women in science, maths and technology.

Importantly, the government is committed to improving Australians' digital skills, with an investment of over $100 million to create education options for reskilling and upskilling for the current market of in-demand jobs. This government's investment will continue to underpin a strong research and intellectual capital base and support the commercialisation of good ideas—good ideas like the world-leading innovations already in this country, including wi-fi technology, the bionic ear and the vaccine for cervical cancer. We have the expertise, the drive and the know-how, and this bill is a step towards ensuring that we have the human capital and physical infrastructure to locally deliver on ideas like these into the future.

This place quite often presents opportunities and experiences that you wouldn't ordinarily see outside of this place. I'm privileged enough to be on the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources, previously chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. We have recently completed an inquiry into space. When thinking about space, one often thinks that it's a group of intellectuals in a room, working on a chart with mathematical equations that nobody understands. What this inquiry showed the committee was that space is the future and that there are opportunities for our future generations not just in engineering but in electrical, in design and in computing, and the vast evidence was that we cannot get enough people. We cannot get enough youth into the space industry, because they think of that whiteboard with those mathematical equations.

On the day when the rover Perseverance landed on Mars, we had a tour of the Australian Space Agency and we spoke to the people who work there. Some of them were electricians and some of them were engineers. But what it said to us was: for future generations, the opportunity is there for you. The opportunity is there to be able to make a difference in the future. When we think about space, we think about satellites. To simplify it, the satellites are up there driving your wi-fi and driving the tractors out in western New South Wales with nobody in them: that is the future. At the moment, there are fewer than 1,000 satellites in the sky; within a decade, there will be over 100,000 satellites going around this globe. So you do get that privilege, and this is something that we as a government and we as a nation need to harness to become that economically strong force and that economically strong country.

One of the other things that you get to see are the local examples: those tiny little factories tucked away in the industrial centres that you may drive past day after day and not know what's in there. One example is a company called Blue Bins in Port Macquarie. Over 90 per cent of landfill comes from construction and renovations and building materials going into the ground. This company, through their hard work, has reduced that from over 90 per cent to 12 per cent by recycling that material and putting that back into the building industry. So not only are they saving on landfill; what they're actually doing by recycling is limiting the amount of timber and plastic that's required. Day after day, you see industries such as that. Through the government's funding and programs, we need to harness these to ensure that we can use best practice and ensure that these companies can thrive and create jobs in our economy.

Over the last month in my electorate of Cowper, I've seen this government's investment in a paper and oil recycling program. Coffs Harbour Paper and Oil received joint federal and state government funding totalling $636,000 under the Recycling Modernisation Fund. This project is specifically about easing pressure on our environment by recycling more materials including plastics, tyres, glass, cardboard and even coffee cups. Importantly, it is about creating jobs and economic investment. This project alone will increase the state's recycling capacity by an estimated 120,000 tonnes every year. This is an example of the $190 million investment into the Recycling Modernisation Fund which will create approximately 10,000 new jobs over the next 10 years across Australia.

I'm also proud to say that Cowper is the home to Louise Hardman, who is a scientist, inventor, innovator and waste-free plastics educator, and who is New South Wales' Local Hero nominee in this year's Australian of the Year Awards. Louise founded Plastic Collective, a social enterprise to stop plastics entering our oceans. Plastic Collective is changing the way people think about plastics. Louise is an expert in grassroots community engagement, the chemistry of plastic and the circular economy. She invented the shruder, a mobile recycling machine that shreds and extrudes plastic onsite. Using the shruder and Louise's working with plastics program, communities are transforming plastic waste into products for local needs and generating revenue through selling processed plastic shred. This was made possible by the almost $2.5 million provided to Plastic Collective as part of the Cooperative Research Centres Program.

This same program awarded $950,000 to local winery Cassegrain Wines, and I can attest to the high quality of their wines. The 2019-20 bushfires affected prominent wine regions in the ACT, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Without scientifically proven treatments for smoke taint, the issue remains an ongoing threat to the long-term economic viability of the Australian wine industry. Vineyard exposure to bushfire smoke can taint grapes, and therefore wine, due to the unpalatable smoky ashy characters leading to revenue losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The funding has provided the ability to evaluate promising strategies for mitigating smoke taint, including novel winemaking additives and treatment processes that remove smoke compounds from the wine, therefore reducing the sensory perception of smoke taint. Outcomes from this research will provide economic and social benefits to the industry.

By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and harnessing our own homegrown, world-class science and research, we can build our national resilience into a stronger economy and take more of our quality products to the world rather than relying on others to manufacture for us. I expect there to be no opposition to this critical amendment to the industry research and development bill. There has never been a more paramount time to ensure Australia's future success by creating the framework from which the Modern Manufacturing Strategy can truly impact Australian opportunities now and into the future.

5:22 pm

Photo of Tony PasinTony Pasin (Barker, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm going to begin by dissuading the House of a myth, or at least establishing a fact. That is, as the member for Barker, I represent a division in this place that enjoys the title of employing in the electorate more full-time equivalent employees by head of population in manufacturing than in any other division in this place. It's an important title and it's one we don't speak about enough, or at least others don't. I certainly do take the opportunity to point out that, in terms of the league table on that particular matrix, Barker sits atop the dais.

Why is it important? It's important because of many of the facts that we heard from members on both sides of this place in relation to this debate. It's important, because how often do you hear in this place in the policy debate or otherwise the need for us to see we convert more of our raw product to value added product? How often do we hear debates about needing to push the value chain further down the road? As someone who represents, as I said, more employees engaged in manufacturing per head of population than any other person in this place, I also represent a whole swathe of farmers, foresters and fishermen who provide the raw product for those processing facilities and who benefit, quite frankly, because of those downstream processes. And it's probably not too far off to draw the conclusion that the fact that those manufacturing facilities exist in my electorate is because of the exceptional raw products that are grown, harvested, and in some cases fished but otherwise tended in my electorate.

I recall an interview when I was first given the privilege of being in this role, when there was a theme around this building that manufacturing in Australia was dead. Deputy Speaker Freelander, you'll recall the decision from General Motors Holden to pull out of Australia, and that there was a sense that Australians couldn't manufacture anything anymore. This assertion was put to me by a local journalist on air, during a live broadcast, and I simply said: 'That's rubbish. Here in the electorate'—because I was being interviewed in the electorate—'manufacturing is thriving.' 'How could that be?' said the reporter. Well, I ran the reporter through the facts. Of course, this was in the lead-up to establishing world-leading free trade agreements with a number of significant export destinations, and we've only gone from strength to strength.

Our government has also identified the need, if you like, to lean into modern manufacturing. In October 2020, the Prime Minister announced the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, to build national resilience by securing sovereign capabilities in areas of national interest. Whether it's Philly cheese, all of which is produced in Mount Gambier in my electorate; or the meat that comes from Teys abattoir at Naracoorte; or the wines—I know the member for Cowper was making contributions about wines from other states outside of South Australia; I acknowledge his enthusiasm but, quite frankly, he's fighting an uphill battle!—throughout the Barossa and Coonawarra. There are other modern manufacturing plants, like Costa Adelaide Mushrooms in Murray Bridge, a facility which looks very much like it has come off the set of a sci-fi movie. Modern manufacturing is not, as many in this place would suggest, something that doesn't take place in regional Australia.

I want to take a moment to dwell on the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. It's obviously a fund of great importance. It's part of our government's strategy to lean into modern manufacturing and take advantage of the very real opportunities that exist, not exclusively but assisted, of course, by the free-trade agenda that we've been able to negotiate so successfully across the globe in our time in government since 2013. That modern manufacturing fund has seen a number of projects supported in Barker. Those projects include both the very big and the very small, but I want to talk today about two projects at opposite ends of that spectrum: respectfully, a smaller project supporting a more modest but important manufacturing exercise and a potentially gargantuan one. These projects highlight the breadth of manufacturing that takes place in my electorate, and also the importance of manufacturing across that spectrum, from the very small to the very large.

I've never had one, but espresso martinis, apparently, are pretty trendy! Now, in order to have one, or at least produce one, you need a shot of coffee. In a busy bar environment, spending time firing up the coffee machine, producing your shot of coffee, cooling it down and then producing the espresso martini is a less than efficient way of going about it. So Arrosto Coffee, in my electorate of Barker, got thinking. What they did was establish a rather small bespoke but, I would suggest, relatively inefficient manufacturing process which allowed cold-drip coffee to be bottled and then sold so that, in making that espresso martini, the bar could quickly access a shot of coffee, execute the espresso martini and get to the next customer. In a hospitality environment like that one of the most significant inputs is labour costs, so this was a significant saving.

Along comes the modern manufacturing fund. A $99,550 grant went to Arrosto Coffee to go towards what was effectively a $200,000 project. The grant allowed the business to build a new manufacturing facility, complete with upgrades to bottling, labelling, sterilising technologies and a renewable energy system. I took the opportunity recently, when I was in Renmark, to pop in, and in a happy coincidence they were commissioning a bottling line while I was there. I saw what a significant transformation a modest but meaningful contribution can make. For the benefit of the minister at the table, the Minister for Resources and Water, this is a business that exists in the Murray-Darling Basin, and though it wasn't receiving funding from the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program, it is a great example of a business diversifying away from reliance on irrigated horticulture.

That is what the modern manufacturing fund can do at the more modest end of the industry spectrum. I now take the House to the other end of the spectrum. Serendipitously, today I signed a letter of support in relation to the next round of the Australian government's Modern Manufacturing Initiative. It was to support an application proposed by Borg Manufacturing. As I am co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Forestry Industries, this is a project that has had my interest for some time. Borg is seeking funding to support the development of a fully integrated, world-class recycled-wood particle board manufacturing facility, incorporating highly efficient heat-recovery systems. In short, Borg is seeking to take wood waste from construction sites and reuse it by making it into particle board, which will find its way back onto construction sites and into the construction of dwellings and other things. It's significant because, though the House might not appreciate it, one of the largest streams of waste going to landfill today by volume is building waste. If we can remove wood fibre from that stream and re-energise that wood fibre together with new fibres into brand new particle board, it will be a significant win.

It's a significant win for industry because we're talking about a capital project of some $150 million. You can only imagine how many jobs in construction that will create at Borg's facility in Mount Gambier. It's also a win for the national interest. When I began my contribution, I spoke about the fact that our government is leaning in to the Modern Manufacturing Strategy around securing sovereign capability. It might come as a surprise to the House, but we operate a trade deficit in this country when it relates to timber and wood products. Australia is a net importer of timber. I can't fathom it, but it's real. We import timber to a value of around $6 billion, while we export timber and timber products to the value of about $4 billion. A significant element of that is particleboard.

This project alone, using the latest generation technology, will produce over 40 per cent of the nation's particleboard demand. It will be a domestic processing facility for pulp log, which today effectively has no domestic processing home in Australia. Indeed, we're even struggling to export that product internationally. The very real risk is that, if we don't establish processing facilities like this one proposed by Borg in the south-east of South Australia, then much of the pulp log in this country will simply go to waste; it will be thinned to waste. This is valuable fibre that takes many years to grow. It will be thinned to produce more structural timber as part of the plantation growing sector.

We as the government are leaning in on modern manufacturing. Too often in this place, when people hear those words or that phrase in the context of innovation and other issues that are critically important, they fail to appreciate that manufacturing exists on a spectrum. In my electorate, in my very real examples, I've shown you the importance of both very small projects and the gargantuan $100 to $200 million projects. They're important not for any other reason than that they drive employment outcomes. It's employment outcomes that drive strong families, and strong families that make strong communities. All of that can be derived directly from a commitment by our government to lean into modern manufacturing to secure our sovereign capability in areas of national interest.

5:37 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Deputy Speaker Freelander. I'm pleased that you're in the chair while I make a contribution to this debate. Firstly, I'd note for anyone watching a recording of this, that I'm speaking in the Australian federal parliament, and my speech here is protected by the Parliamentary Privileges Act, which goes back to the UK Bill of Rights 1688. I have free speech to say what I'm about to say. It should not be impeached or questioned outside of this parliament, for to do so is a breach of our Parliamentary Privileges Act.

In relation to the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill, I note that the member for Chifley has moved an amendment, and that is:

That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

'whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1) notes the jobs and economic growth generated from a robust innovation ecosystem; and

(2) condemns the Coalition Government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation, particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic.'

I rise in support of the member for Chifley's bill. I note in his comments he also says that Australia is home to many incredible companies and firms, but our innovative ideas languish with one of the lowest start-up formation rates in the world. We've got to be more ambitious. We've got to commit ourselves to bringing more great Australian ideas to the global market. I'd like to give an example of that and also give an example of why I support the member for Chifley's amendment.

In April last year, Monash University conducted a study which they have published the results of. I'd like to quote directly from Monash University's press release:

A collaborative study led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) with the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, has shown that an anti-parasitic drug already available around the world kills the virus within 48 hours.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute's Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, said the scientists showed that the drug, Ivermectin, stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.

"We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it," Dr Wagstaff said.

She continued:

Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective—that's the next step …

Of course I'm sure that you, Mr Deputy Speaker Freelander, more than anyone knows that something being tested in vitro, in a test tube, is a long, long way from showing effectiveness in humans.

After the discovery of Australia's Dr Wagstaff, Australia's internationally renowned Professor Borody, a physician with four—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source


Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

You've got to be kidding me!

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Fenner on a point of order.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

You've seriously got to be kidding me!

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source


Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

Deputy Speaker, it is essential to the dignity of the House that we debate the matters before us. The second reading amendment is narrow in its focus on the industry aspects of the pandemic. It doesn't allow the member to speak about ivermectin, a drug which the Therapeutic Goods Administration has asked Australians not to use and has suggested not be imported for the purposes of dealing with COVID. Questions such as these are clearly outside the issues that are before the House. The member has many other opportunities to raise questions such as this. He might make a 90-second statement, he might speak in the adjournment—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! I think the appropriate action is to request that the member be relevant.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

On the relevance rule, let's be very clear what this amendment says. It says:

… condemns the Coalition Government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation, particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic …

That is exactly what I am speaking about. You come into this chamber and want to silence debate on one of the most important issues ever to face our country. Shame on you down there at the desk, Member for Fenner or wherever you're from! It is absolutely crystal clear that what I am debating is directly relevant to this bill. How dare you stand up and try to silence debate in the House because of some ideological view that you may have! I am directly talking about the government's continued failure to back Australian industry and innovation and I am talking about an Australian innovation that we have let slip through our fingers. That's what I have been talking about, which is directly 100 per cent relevant to this bill.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! The member for Fenner on a point of order.

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

I raise a point of order, Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

What is the point of order?

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

Relevance. The question here is not the efficacy of ivermectin, which Anthony Fauci has warned against and the Therapeutic Goods Administration has warned against; it is the member's need to be relevant to matters before the House. He can debate this in other forums.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I remind the honourable member he is still bound by the rules of the parliament. We are not having a debate.

Photo of Keith PittKeith Pitt (Hinkler, National Party, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

That was the point I was about to make. Far be it from me to get involved; however, a point of order on relevance has already been made and, of course, you can't debate at the box; it's simply to make the point.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would remind the member to please be relevant. You're not here to grandstand; you're here to deliver a speech about a bill. Thank you.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Consistent with your ruling, I will continue to talk about Australian innovation, and with that, under the rules of this House, I'm absolutely 100 per cent entitled to cite an example, and that is what I am doing, Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You have cited an example and now it's now time to move on. Thank you.

I firstly cited the example—I started, before I was interrupted—of Dr Kylie Wagstaff from Monash University, who discovered that ivermectin kills COVID stone cold dead in a test tube. I then went on to talk about Australia's research and innovation with Australia's Professor Tom Borody, someone with experience in innovation and research, an internationally regarded physician with four FDA approved drugs on the US and Australian markets, who is famous for developing the triple therapy that cured peptic ulcers, saving more than 18,000 lives just in Australia and millions internationally. Professor Borody understands about innovation. He understands about what it is to work in Australian industry and develop an idea and take it through to the marketplace. That is exactly what we are talking about.

Now, what did Professor Borody say following Dr Wagstaff's discoveries? He said that the combination of three approved off-the-shelf drugs could be the answer to Australia's COVID crisis. He said—and I quote directly:

If nothing else, make it available in aged care homes immediately.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! I remind the member to be relevant. This has no relevance to the bill at hand.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

With the greatest respect, Deputy Speaker, this bill is called the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021. There is an amendment before the House and that amendment 'condemns the coalition government for its continued failure to back Australian industry innovation, particularly to deal with the challenges arising from the pandemic,' and that is precisely what I'm talking about. I'm talking precisely about the amendment and I'm precisely giving an example of what the amendment moved by the opposition talks about. So I will continue. Professor Borody said:

If nothing else, make it available in aged care homes immediately. Our elderly are at the highest risk and this is a very safe—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! A point of order, Member for Fenner?

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

Deputy Speaker, the question is not about Professor Borody's views, which have been repudiated by the Royal Australian College of GPs.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

You are debating the issue—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

What's the point of order?

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

It is about the member's ability to be relevant to the bill at hand. And, if he cannot be relevant—

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

You cannot.

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

you should sit him down. If he continues to defy your ruling, you should sit him down. He has other channels of this parliament in which he can pursue these issues.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! I will allow the member to continue, but I do remind him to be relevant. I do have the ability to stop him from speaking. I don't want to do that—I make that quite clear. I respect your rights to express your opinion, but you must stay relevant to the bill, and continuing on this subject I don't consider to be relevant.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

I appreciate your ruling, Deputy Speaker. I will continue to be relevant to the amendment that is before the House, and I will state that amendment again. The amendment moved by the opposition 'condemns the coalition government for its continual failure to back Australian industry and innovation', and I am talking about Australian innovation. I'm giving an example of Australian innovation. The amendment further says, 'particularly to deal with challenges arising from the pandemic'. The words I am saying could not be more relevant to the amendment.

I'll continue from where I was interrupted. Professor Borody said, when he was talking about innovation and how he was trying to innovate here in Australia—which is exactly what we are debating here:

Also, our frontline workers deserve more protection with a preventative medication like this, and as an emergency treatment if they test positive.

An ivermectin tablet can cost as little as $2—which could make it by far the cheapest, safest, and fastest cure for Australians and the Australian economy.

How have we missed the boat? This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Australian innovation. This could have been known as the Australian treatment around the world. Just have a look at some of the success it has had around the world. We've all seen the stories out of India, of how terribly COVID has affected India. The state of Uttar Pradesh has a population of 230 million. The chief minister, Yogi Adityanath

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

A point of order, again?

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

This is beyond a joke! The interruptions are beyond a joke! This is a deliberate attempt to silence a debate.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! Let me hear the member for Fenner. I believe he has a point of order.

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

I do, on relevance. This is not a question of ivermectin, which the Centre for Disease Control has warned against and the Australian Department of Health has warned against; it is the member's ability to be relevant the bill. If he can't do that, you should sit him down. You ask him these things but he doesn't change his behaviour at all.

Photo of Keith PittKeith Pitt (Hinkler, National Party, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

As the honourable member would know, he's not able to debate at the box on a point of order—just to make the point of order.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I don't think there is room for debate about the issues that the member for Hughes is raising. He's entitled to put his point of view. He's as relevant as I suspect he is going to be. I'd like him to continue.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

In the 40 seconds I have left, I will try and wrap up. It was the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh that looked at Australian innovation and industry, and took notice of Professor Borody. And what did they do? From having a daily case rate of 35,000, by using Borody's ivermectin treatment—an innovation discovered in Australia—they have their seven-day case average down to 19 and their seven-day death average down to just two people, with six to seven per cent vaccinated. This is a disgrace. The conduct of the member at the desk during this debate— (Time expired)

5:53 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was actually quite interested in the points the member for Hughes was raising there. We're here talking about the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021, which relates to industry research and development, relates to manufacturing and relates to the establishment of this new brand new entity, Industry, Innovation and Science Australia, which will be looking at a range of different industries and assisting people to manufacture things, including breakthrough drugs—that's very exciting. This is why the government is putting this forward, so we can see breakthrough drugs such as ivermectin come to fruition. Perhaps when all the studies are shown and the scare campaigns are not launched against those studies and the claims, we will have an industry that we can be proud of in this country that's going to save lives through a treatment such as ivermectin.

I note that that great hub of science and innovation—again, things we're talking about here today—at Monash University, the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, is doing work that will probably lead to manufacturing that will fit squarely under the policy of the Morrison government in promoting the development of a strategic manufacturing industry here in Australia. Of course drugs which could potentially be a treatment for COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 would be front and centre for that, I would have thought. So it's really good to know that the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute actually found that in vitro—as the member for Hughes said—ivermectin stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus from growing in cell culture within 48 hours. That's great news for innovation and industry in this country, when we—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! The member for Fenner, on a point of order?

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes, a point of order, on relevance. The member is meant to be part of a government whose Department of Health has called against the use of ivermectin and yet he's raising it inappropriately and irrelevantly in this debate.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I will remind the member for Dawson, likewise: I'm quite happy to hear you speak but you must be relevant to the bill. Ivermectin is a drug that's well known to me and it's not an innovative drug. I don't want to give you a lecture about the differences between in vitro and in vivo but please stay relevant to the bill. I would also like to say that, as far as I'm aware, Professor Borody has never treated a patient with SARS-CoV-2.

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you for that, Deputy Speaker. I hear what you've had to say there. The member for Hughes referred to Professor Borody. I am referring to the Monash biomedicine Discovery Institute and Dr Kylie Wagstaff.

They're doing important work. Obviously, that important work could lead to potential future manufacturing of the drug. The innovation would be that drug, ivermectin, being used in a new fashion to treat a new virus; I really look forward to that. So I thank the member for Hughes for bringing that up here. I am astonished as to why people would want to silence that. It's not the member for Hughes talking about the 48 hours that it took for it to destroy those cells but it's Monash University and their Biomedicine Discovery Institute. So more power to them and I hope they go on to manufacture—or at least to be part of the great manufacturing story of this nation—what might potentially be a wonder drug. I notice that the current study they have is in peer review. We'll wait and see what that comes out and says, but it seems very promising.

We want to grow our manufacturing sector with these new drugs, usage of drugs that are coming onto the market and a whole heap of other activities. I want to talk about some of the activities in my electorate—the Mackay region, in particular. The Mackay region takes up probably two-thirds of the electorate of Dawson. There is Mackay itself, of course, the Whitsundays and Bowen, and then we go into the electorate of Capricornia, where we have Collinsville and the coalfields. But my electorate is the service hub for the Bowen and Galilee basins. The Galilee Basin, of course, is also something that the opposite side didn't want talked about some time ago so I might get shut down for that as well. Mackay was identified by another thing that the opposition don't like talking about—the Adani Group—as being the key service centre for its $21 billion coalmine project in the Galilee Basin. There are estimates that for every one manufacturing job that's created we create another three jobs in other areas of the economy. So Adani making Mackay the service hub for their mine, the Carmichael mine—and Adani is now actually called Bravus, so I should refer to it by its new name—has led to more manufacturing for the resources industry in our region and to more manufacturing jobs, organically.

But we are helping, and we've already helped, as the Morrison government. In June this year I was very pleased to announce to CQ Field Mining Services, a Mackay based mining service business, that they were one of 86 across the country to receive funding under the second round of the Morrison government's Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. That fund is designed to help businesses modernise their manufacturing processes and, because of that, it improves productivity, it reduces costs and it enables them to target new export opportunities and create highly skilled manufacturing. That, indeed, is what the core of the bill before us is all about. It's all about how we can do more through our Modern Manufacturing Initiative to assist industries. The Manufacturing Modernisation Fund is a critical part of that. CQ Field Mining Services is a maintenance and construction contractor. They will be investing in transforming their METS—mining equipment, technology and services—operations with the funding that they've received. There are many other innovative manufacturing projects across my region that are as exciting as the work being done at Monash University on ivermectin and its other potential applications. I think it's important to remember that ivermectin research that's being done is going to be groundbreaking and could lead to more manufacturing and more manufacturing jobs. Back in Mackay—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Fenner, a point of order?

Photo of Andrew LeighAndrew Leigh (Fenner, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | | Hansard source

On relevance, Deputy Speaker. The second reading amendment clearly goes to manufacturing. As the member well knows, the research on ivermectin is at very early stages, which is why the Department of Health and the Therapeutic Goods Administration do not recommend it as a treatment, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr Anthony Fauci.

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

On the point of order raised by the member for Fenner: there is no point of order and the member for Fenner is actually deliberately and intentionally trying to interrupt the proceedings of this parliament. The member for Fenner should be censured for his conduct. This is a special responsibility in this parliament, not to interrupt others in the way he's—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! We are not having a debate, the member for Fenner and the member for Hughes. I think that the point of order on relevance is sustained and I'd ask the member for Dawson to be relevant. But I would like him to continue his contribution.

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you very much. It's amazing that you can say just one word and get a reaction like that. I'll try not to use it again for the member for Fenner, although it might just slip in—

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Dawson for that. It would be very good if we could get through this debate; I'd appreciate it.

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm finding it highly amusing to carry on. What's not amusing, what's actually invigorating, is the potential in the Mackay region for new manufacturing and new industry. We have a Mackay alternative sugarcane processing facility that's currently an idea in germination. It's actually more than an idea, as a substantial business case that was done finds that it stacks up, and this is really innovative stuff. It's never been done, not just in Australia but in the world. It could take our sugarcane industry from where it is, which basically has about three, maybe four products that are used in the main—the raw crystal, the molasses, the gas, the ethanol—and the co-generation is another product that comes out of sugar at the moment, and take it to a variety of different streams of income for farmers and millers alike. That's the kind of innovation we need, that's the kind of innovation that IISA is going to be looking at and looking after and it's the kind of innovation that we are currently trying to crack open with our Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

More than that, up in Brandon, in the northern part of my electorate, there is a rice mill. Not many people know about it, but it's actually owned by a little company called SunRice. SunRice are hoping that they can expand that facility and make North Queensland the new centre of operations, eventually equal to what we have in New South Wales. That is great innovation that, if we can crack it open and get more manufacturing into the region, is going to be very important. In Bowen as well, talking about innovation, we've literally got a rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, which has identified Abbot Point as a prime site for satellite launch capability. I've been working with them and the relevant ministers to try to facilitate this. It's something that is going to go off—literally! I look forward to the day when we launch our rockets from the Whitsundays. It would boost Australia's capability. We don't have a great deal of launch capability in this country. That is a strategic need. I'm sure that IISA is going to be facilitating and assisting in these endeavours as well.

One thing I'm proud as punch about is that, in my electorate, there is an agave distillery project. We can't call it tequila, because Mexico has the brand on that, and I don't like talking too much about tequila because of bad, bad memories from many decades ago!

An honourable member interjecting

You probably couldn't call relevance because most of it I can't remember to be relevant! This agave facility is looking for Modern Manufacturing Initiative funding as well. I'm sure this is going to be the kind of thing the government is going to want to promote with manufacturing. It's all about food and beverage manufacturing, but this is really niche stuff that could pay off big time and could lead to a whole heap of jobs. I certainly wouldn't be touting the health benefits of agave, but Top Shelf International reckons they've got 450,000 blue agave plants. They're hoping to reach one million plants in the ground in North Queensland by 2024, and that's going to produce a lot of spirits to go right around the world. I've been invited to taste a prototype of the product—a member's got to do what a member's got to do! I'll gladly report back to the House on how good top-shelf agave spirit is once I'm able to get back to my electorate.

But all of these products and projects—whether it is pursuing an agave distillery in the Whitsundays, space launches out of Bowen, rice production in Brandon, a new methodology of processing sugarcane that can produce wholly new items in Mackay or, indeed, pursuing different and innovative uses for ivermectin—are critical to Australia's future manufacturing capabilities. That's what this initiative is all about. I really hope the IISA looks at all of these projects and helps facilitate them to go further, because they are going to be instrumental in creating the jobs of the future, the ones in my electorate. It's all going to be about jobs in the regions, and that is vitally important. I commend all of those projects and I commend the bill. Go, manufacturing!

6:08 pm

Photo of Gladys LiuGladys Liu (Chisholm, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the Industry Research and Development Amendment (Industry Innovation and Science Australia) Bill 2021. This bill repurposes the advisory body known as Innovation and Science Australia to form Industry Innovation and Science Australia, or IISA. But this isn't just a name change. It's part of a broader reform to IISA to clarify its focus on Australian industry innovation. Innovation and Science Australia was conceived and announced by the coalition government under the National Innovation and Science Agenda in 2015 and formally established in 2016 to fill a need for a new dedicated and high-profile body to advise the government on innovation, science and research matters. The body has made an important contribution to furthering Australia's innovation and science capabilities and has helped inform the government's investment to enhance in these areas, but now it is time for a step-up.

The inclusion of 'industry' in IISA's name is an important signal to stakeholders in both the private and public sectors. It acknowledges the critical role that innovation and science play in enabling competitive Australian industries and driving a productive, resilient and prosperous economy. It highlights the Morrison government's commitment to seeking the best expert advice on these matters, to supporting genuine and practical innovation in Australian priority sectors and to ensuring sovereign capability and industry resilience, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and a need for quick and robust economic recovery.

The Morrison government's investments in innovation, science and technology are growing Australia's competitive advantage, lifting our economic resilience and enhancing the quality of life of all Australians. Importantly, these investments are backing in our businesses and the 860,000 Australians who work in the manufacturing sector. Our businesses and industries stepped up to the recent challenges they have faced in innovative and genuine ways, often harnessing technology to drive profitability, grow their businesses, and not just keep people employed but create more jobs.

This accelerated use of science and technology has not only helped our businesses stay afloat but also created opportunities for them to be more connected and more resilient to future shocks. That's why, in the 2020-21 budget handed down in October last year, we made a record investment of $11.9 billion in the science, research and innovation system. That is hundreds of millions of dollars of investment more than when Labor was last in office. Our investment is used to underpin a strong research and intellectual capital base, support the commercialisation of good ideas, maintain Australia's comparative and competitive advantages, ensure our national and sovereign needs are met and guarantee we have the human capital and physical infrastructure necessary to seize the opportunities of the future.

As the government's strategic advisory body on industry innovation, IISA is playing a pivotal role in guiding and advocating government policies and programs to drive economic recovery and growth, and in particular the Modern Manufacturing Strategy. By playing to our strengths and strategically investing in harnessing our world-class science and research, we can build our national resilience into a stronger economy and take more of our quality products to the world.

This strategy is already building confidence and having an impact. The Australian Industry Group's April Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index saw an increase of 1.8 points, to 61.7 points, which is the highest monthly result since March 2018. I have seen this impact firsthand in my own electorate of Chisholm. Local Box Hill business Atmo Biosciences is doing incredible work helping to unlock the mysteries of the human gut and improve diagnosis and treatment for common gastrointestinal disorders. The Morrison government is backing Atmo with significant support delivered through the modern manufacturing fund, as part of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, to help them to improve their manufacturing processes and scale up their business.

The Modern Manufacturing Strategy is at the forefront of the government's economic recovery efforts. It is a whole-of-government strategy to help Australian manufacturing scale up, become more competitive and resilient, and create jobs for current and future generations. Repurposing Innovation and Science Australia to Industry Innovation and Science Australia makes a simple but significant step in the implementing of these transformational policies.

6:15 pm

Photo of Ken WyattKen Wyatt (Hasluck, Liberal Party, Minister for Indigenous Australians) Share this | | Hansard source

This bill is a strategic step for clarifying the government's expert advisory architecture on industry and innovation. The repositioning of ISA to Industry Innovation and Science Australia, IISA, acknowledges the pivotal role that the private sector industries have in guiding and advocating for government policies and programs that effectively drive economic recovery and growth. This legislation supports the government's commitment to seeking the best expert advice on these matters, to supporting genuine and practical innovation in priority industry areas in Australia and to ensuring sovereign capability and industry resilience. I commend the bill to the House.

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that this bill now be read a second time. To this the honourable member for Chifley has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the amendment be disagreed to.

Question agreed to.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.