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Opportunities Down Under

Opportunities Down Under

Recently a 21 strong government and media delegation came half way around the world to find economic opportunities. From Austria to Australia in search of new markets and business partners, the group visited successful companies with Austrian ties in New South Wales and Victoria.

After a morning tour of the parliament in Melbourne and meetings with politicians, the delegation spent an afternoon at Paarhammer Windows.

“I would not want to be a famous person’ said Tony Paarhammer after he had 15 plus recording devises under his nose not two minutes after the group disembarked from the bus. The questions came thick and fast from Austrian newspapers, magazines, radio and TV.

After the group enjoyed an Australian lunch, Tony and Edith gave a powerpoint presentation on their business, it’s history, Austrian imports and opportunities for the future. They also invited a representative from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Ballarat Office) who explained why Victoria is the ideal state when it comes to doing business. He underpinned his talk with statistics, e.g. Victoria has the lowest business tax rate in Australia and Port Melbourne is Australia’s largest and busiest container port. Melbourne is also the ‘world’s most liveable city’ (five years in a row) and features the most attractive business location costs for R and D operations in the Asia-Pacific.

Australia as a whole is very interesting for overseas business as it is the 12th largest economy in the world. With a population of 23.7 million people on 7,687,000 km2 of land we have a GDP of A$1.56 trillion. Victoria is Australia’s second largest economy with 22 per cent of Australia’s GDP and 25 per cent of Australia’s population with a projected increase to 10-12 million people in 2060. Melbourne will be Australia’s largest city by 2030. With low risk, being transparent and international, Melbourne features a strong economy and world-class infrastructure.

Strengthened by all these figures, the Austrian delegation took a tour through the Paarhammer manufacturing facilities with commentary in Austrian native tongue. The tour included a talk about the waste management of sawdust and shavings from the manufacturing process, where they are made into briquettes which in turn are used to heat the factory. While this is a common practise in Austria, it is fairly new to Australia. And a tour of the state-of-the-art automated spray painting facility excited the camera crew as they were introduced to Paarhammer’s newest recruit, the robot Francesco, and saw a demonstration of his work.

Individual interviews were held by radio and ORF, the equivalent of the ABC, for a documentary of this fact-finding mission to be aired on Austrian TV.

Opportunities in the building industry as Paarhammer sees it, could be in quality pre-fabricated housing and timber buildings, especially since regulations have recently changed to allow for timber constructions to be built up to a height of 25m. Heating systems are also on top of the opportunities list as comfort seems to have become a more important issue to home owners who demand a constant temperate in their home. This can already be seen through high uptake of insulation, and energy efficient and draft proof windows and doors. Furnaces for hydronic heating systems, geothermal solutions, etc. could all be growth areas.

Afternoon tea consisting of the familiar Schwarzwaelderkirsch Torte and coffee gave the group sustenance to complete their visit. The delegation left with hundreds of pictures, lots of media footage and many ideas for business opportunities Down Under.

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