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Transcript - Investing in Australian Infrastructure

February 2012

Duration: 5 min. 6 sec.

Speaker: Simone Desmarchelier, Consul General and Trade Commissioner Milan

START

SIMONE DESMARCHELIER: Australia is advantageous to Italian and west European companies who are looking to expand into the Asia Pacific region. Often they’re companies that don’t have a presence in that region so they see Australia as the right starting point or the right springboards for those markets. That’s not always the case. But we find for those companies who aren’t yet present in Asia or in the Asia Pacific region, it’s a very strong selling point and certainly in the case of Italian companies, it’s a strong selling point, it’s a good message to be able to make to them that they’re going to be placing themselves in a market which is not too far from a European perspective but has the benefit of being in the largest growth region in the world.

The Australian industries that are attracting the most investment from Italy are quite varied. We’re looking at a number of investments in the areas that are attached to innovation and research and development, such as biotechnology and pharma. Also in the food technology and food production area, and clean energy. But by and large I’d say the areas that are attracting most interest and most investment are infrastructure and rail.

The opportunities for Italian infrastructure and rail companies in Australia are significant. There is quite a large program planned by the federal government to support a number of infrastructure initiatives. There’s a national ports strategy, there’s a strategy around roads. Then you look at each state government has quite significant commitments in infrastructure as well. Quite a bit around roads and rail and then ports as well are linked in to that. There’s a cross over on the federal and state side obviously in some projects and then there are some standalone projects at state level. There are also quite a few private sector projects especially in the mining industry when you’re looking at transport to and from mining sites. So there are a number of opportunities in a number of different sectors for Italian rail and infrastructure companies in Australia.

I believe the Italian investment particularly in the infrastructure area, the advantage to Australia and the reason why it should be seen as something positive is that you’re providing primarily a new form of skill or a form of technology transfer into the Australian market.

And for some sectors it’s providing job security or an increase in jobs. So for example, the Gellar Legacy Way project that Oceania, Gellar and BMD are involved in, the vast majority of the jobs created under that are jobs given to Australians.

Italian companies in general are looking for long term investments if they’re coming to Australia. Australia’s seen as a very strong market. It’s seen as economically robust and politically stable and it offers a good solid risk diversification and also a good commercial diversification for those companies.

END

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