“When big business can compete, and attract that capital and make those investments, that doesn't just trickle, but it flows right down that ecos...
July 26, 2018
Grant King, Business Council of Australia president
Gladstone is a magnet for business activity; a perfect illustration of the benefits that flow into a community when it attracts investment.
Grant King, the president of the Business Council of Australia, describes Gladstone as “one of the great cash registers of Australia, one of the great sources of wealth creation’’.
Mr King told the Strong Australia forum and broadcast in the central Queensland city in July 2018 that Gladstone’s success has been built on the willingness of companies to invest billions into the region.
“Whether it's coal or LNG (liquified natural gas) plants, or aluminium refineries, aluminium smelters, it takes big capital to do that,’’ Mr King said.
“When big business can compete, and attract that capital and make those investments, that doesn't just trickle, but it flows right down that ecosystem to medium businesses and small businesses.’’
“It creates jobs for Australians, strengthens regional communities, creates diversity in those communities. We think there's much good here on display in Gladstone,’’ he said.
Gladstone’s story of growth, built on the back of thriving businesses and sustained investment, is the essence of what the Business Council’s Strong Australia Network is designed to highlight.
The campaign aims to connect people who understand the importance of a thriving business sector to the entire country, from the cities to the regions.
Business is the engine room of Australia’s economy, employing 11 million of the almost 13 million working Australians. Business creates jobs, exports, innovates, pays taxes and creates vibrant communities.
As part of the Strong Australia Network, business leaders travel across the nation into regional areas to discuss the issues facing local communities. The aim is to shift the conversation beyond the major cities, and focus on real solutions to the pressing challenges that many Australians face outside Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
Regional centres are crying out for investment, development and infrastructure, job creation, new businesses, reduced cost of living expenses, and improved access to educational opportunities to lift their living standards and strengthen their communities.
Every Australian, no matter where they live, and every community deserves to have the opportunities to reach their full potential, and to thrive and prosper.
Mr King told the Strong Australia events in Gladstone that he believed many people living in Australia’s major cities took for “granted that you can kind of switch on the power and you can drive a car, because it still gets made somewhere, and you can eat because someone's raising cattle and growing crops but no one really knows how it all happens.”
“Most of that happens, not in the cities, but in regional Australia.
“There's very few Australians who really appreciate how dynamic these parts of their country are, how entrepreneurial people are in these areas, how enthusiastic they are about their region, and what they do.’’
Zoe Yujnovich, the Chair of Shell Australia and the Executive Vice President of Shell Australia & New Zealand, said Shell was one of the largest energy companies in Australia.
Shell is the operator and majority interest holder in the QGC venture. Shell produces natural gas to supply the Australian domestic market, and for export, as LNG via our two-train LNG liquefaction plant on Curtis Island in Queensland.
QGC produces natural gas from the Surat Basin of southern Queensland and supplies domestic and international markets.
In Queensland, Ms Yujnovich told Strong Australia, Shell has invested $30 billion into its facilities, and created about 21,000 jobs. “While the construction boom is a big part of this, we're talking about jobs for four decades,’’ she said.
“These are multi-generational jobs. These aren't just jobs that come in the construction boom today, but the operations, the maintenance, the projects that come along with our assets, really provide jobs and opportunities for our kids.’’
Ms Yujnovich is also the chairman of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, the peak national body representing Australia’s oil and gas exploration and production industry.
Ms Yujnovich said one of the things Shell had “done really well is work directly with our communities in consulting them in how we best develop our industries’’.
“I think what we've learned is that it's not just about the communities that we're operating in, but the sustainability of our industry is linked in a large part to the epicentres of broader Australian development, like Victoria and New South Wales.’’
She added: “We're incredibly proud of the industry that we've created. Many of our regional communities are strong advocates of the way in which this development has helped them stimulate economic livelihood.’’
Leo Zussino, then the chairman of the Gladstone Port Corporation, the nation’s fifth largest commodity port, said demand for Australia’s resources in Asia has grown significantly over the last four or five decades.
“What you really do need is big companies to actually invest the money in the infrastructure, in the facilities, to allow those exports to take place.
“There is a really strong relationship between multinational companies and Gladstone,’’ he said. “We've always understood that in Australia regional development is not about looking for government handouts. It's about framing a strategic future based upon your strengths and then working with government and industry to actually benefit, to harvest those strengths and turn them into real prosperity.’’