PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8035


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/06/1990

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 8035

From time to time, there comes an event that captures in one
moment the aspirations and hard work of many people over
many years. The commissioning today of this sophisticated
production facility by Ericsson Australia is one such event.
It encapsulates in freeze-frame many of the critically
important changes underway today in Australia changes that
have been sought and envisioned by policy makers in Canberra
since 1983, and changes that are increasingly being
implemented by employers, investors and trade unionists
throughout the national economy.
I know it's traditional for speakers such as me, at
occasions such as this, to express the formal sentiments of
pleasure at being here. But I hope you will understand that
on this occasion, I do indeed feel a great deal of pleasure,
not to mention satisfaction, pride and encouragement, at
what we are witnessing here.
It's an achievement in its own right for Ericsson Australia
to expand its operations in this way.
I'm told by Ericsson's that a robotic cell is a so-called
clever system in that it learns from its mistakes and
automatically takes measures to correct them.
That might be quite handy in politics. In fact it might be
even useful in the media.
I mean to convey a serious point. We are all familiar with
that perhaps traditional and understandable media tendency
to focus on shortcomings in Australian industry. When there
is a strike, a delay or a missed opportunity, you can be
sure that's news. But when something positive is done, when
an Australian firm or union gets it right, when we kick a
goal in a tough international environment, that's rarely
seen as news.
Today Ericsson really is kicking a goal. It Is newsworthy,
and I hope we read and hear about in the news media. 799) 7

This robotic cell, in a new plant for the production of
public telephone exchange equipment, confirms Ericsson's
status as a world class producer of telecommunications
equipment, and positions it well for the successful further
expansion of its role in Australia, in our region and
beyond. In all these regards Ericsson's individual achievement is
very accurately to be considered an achievement for the
economy and the nation as a whole.
Because what this robotic cell stands for is years of
research, extensive training, substantial and continuing new
investment, and significant new export potential, in an
industry that is at the cutting edge of new technology.
In other words, it symbolises Australia's emerging identity
as ' the clever country' not content to rely simply on the
bounty of our agricultural and mineral wealth but eager to
diversify our skills and capacities. It is only by becoming
a truly capable player in the world economy a vigorous
exporter of a broad range of products, a confident producer
of sophisticated technologies, a reliable trading partner
and joint venturer that living standards in this country
will be underpinned and enhanced.
From the Government's point of view, developing this kind of
competitiveness and diversity has been the central thrust of
our activity since 1983. In a rapidly changing and
increasingly competitive global environment, we have
provided the lead, through our international diplomacy and
our domestic budgetary decisions, and not least, through our
plans for the reform of the micro-economy.
I've made it clear that in the telecommunications industry,
what we should be trying to ensure is that we get the most
effective service. I'm not wedded to any particular solution
or formula; and I've said that we will not allow any vested
interest to dictate the terms of the final decision we take.
The only criteria can be effectiveness; and that means we
need to look at options that would increase competition in
this area.
The success of the Government's endeavours since 1983 in
creating a positive environment for the growth and
diversification of the Australian economy has relied
ultimately on winning the co-operation of others.
It is up to individual decision makers to respond: to find
new export markets, to invest in new capital, to formulate
more efficient award structures and to develop and
implement new technologies.
So that is why this event today in Broadmeadows has truly
national significance.
Indeed, perhaps the most exciting aspect of this initiative
is its long-term international significance.

Ericsson Australia is already an established exporter of
telephone exchange equipment to the Asia-Pacific region.
The robotic cell is part of a substantial capital investment
I program that will reinforce Ericsson's international
competitiveness. With this new technology Ericsson
Australia will be well equipped to meet the tender
requirements for a major overseas contract the second
J digital telephone network in Indonesia.
Ericsson estimates that success in this bid could generate
more than $ 1 billion worth of exports down the track. This
would confirm the international status of our domestic
telecommunications industry.
It is because of this potential that the Australian
Government decided last year to offer DIFF ( Development
Import Finance Facility) support to the Ericsson bid to the
amount of $ 83.4 million. I take this opportunity to repeat
the Government's support for the bid.
In other respects, too, Ericsson is displaying its
commitment to the varied tasks of economic restructuring.
It has been a success story of our new Industry Development
Arrangements for local telecommunications manufacturers.
These IDAs aim to foster the commitment of local
manufacturers to research and development, export and
domestic value adding, and Ericsson's contribution so far
has been outstanding.
Ericsson has also shown that it understands the importance
of people, by sponsoring the establishment of a joint
government-industry training initiative known as the
Australian Electronics Development Centre. This Centre is
unique in Australia in its provision of training for the
electronics industry and shows again the capacity and
commitment of this company to fostering a more capable
Australian telecommunications effort.
The emerging status of Australia's telecommunications
industry is another reason why we should be looking closely
at our existing services.
I want before closing to pay tribute to Ericsson's Managing
Director, Mr Lars Estberger, who is soon to retire. Lars
has been at the helm of the Australian operation since 1982
and presided as we have seen over a period of
significant growth in the company. His work has made
possible the investment program we are commissioning today
and contributed to the world class standard of Ericsson
I .7 999

It takes a significant commitment on the part of an
individual and on the part of all employees to get the
results that Ericsson has achieved. It is the sort of
commitment which Australia requires if it is to compete in
the international environment, and I am proud to be involved
in the demonstration of this commitment today.

Transcript 8035