WA firms blitz export awards

THE West Australian export community has blitzed the field at the 2000 Australian Export Awards by winning four National Awards, which were announced in Sydney last Tuesday night.

Officiating the awards ceremony at the Westin Hotel, Federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile, presented Austal Ships Pty Ltd with the Australian Made Large Advanced Manufacturer Award, Lasata Software with the Hewlett-Packard Information Industries Award and Woodside Energy Ltd with the Melbourne Port Corporation Minerals Award.

Austal Ships also took out the night’s top honour of DHL Australian Exporter of the Year Award.

“Every year these awards produce a new crop of national export role models who demonstrate the diversity and strength of Australia’s success as an export nation - and this year is no exception,” Mr Vaile said.

“Austal Ships, Lasata Software and Woodside Energy are true Australian export success story and their award winning performance tonight is largely the result of perseverance, a dedicated business focus and sheer hard work.”

The Australian Made Large Advanced Manufacturer Award recognises outstanding export achievement by a manufacturer with total annual sales of more than $20 million.

The Hewlett-Packard Information Industries Award recognises outstanding export achievement in the field of information multimedia, and communications products and services.

The Melbourne Port Corporation Minerals Award recognises outstanding export achievement in the production and marketing of extractive and value-added mineral products, related equipment or services.

The 2000 Export Awards are presented by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

The Australian Export Awards (AEA) program is acknowledged by the business community as one of Australia’s most prestigious industry awards.

The Awards recognise excellence in exporting by firms and organisations throughout Australia

The Australian Export Awards, now in its 37th year, comprise a series of eight State and Territory Awards covering various categories of exporters, culminating in a national awards ceremony (which was held in Sydney this year). Winners in each of the State Export Awards become eligible and automatically entered in the national awards.

Impact of the “new economy”

What is in it for WA firms? What impact is it having on our firms?

Technological change has been one of the driving forces of globalisation, the so-called new economy is having a significant and beneficial impact on our economy.

The changes being wrought by the advances in information technology do represent a quantum leap in how people around the world will do business, and it is these advances that are propelling us down the road of globalisation.

The impact of the new technologies on production, management and marketing are well documented and significant. Just about every area of business activity has benefited from computerisation, and these benefits flow on to consumers in the form of higher quality goods and services at cheaper prices.

Most commentators believe the advent of B2C, B2B and B2E services should be embraced and encouraged.

The rise of e-commerce is surfing on the rapid expansion of the Internet. The latest set of statistics released by the National Office for the Information Economy indicates that Australians continue to embrace the emerging digital information economy. With adult Internet usage at 43 per cent, Australia ranks as a world leader, behind only Norway, the United States, Iceland and Sweden.

Young Australians aged 12-24 rank even higher at 82 per cent, behind only the United States. More than 740,000 Australian adults shopped online in the 12 months to February 2000, and we were world leaders in terms of paying for Internet purchases online, equal with the United States at 74 per cent of Internet shoppers.

E-commerce has great potential for Western Australian exporters, opening a window to the world at very low cost.

This is of great value to small and medium sized enterprises, and helps attack the myth of growing domination of markets by giant multinational corporations. E-commerce also reduces geographic disadvantage, placing firms in regional Australia on an equal footing with those in our capital cities.

A local example is Western Australian wine producer, Goundrey Wines located some 400 kilometres south of Perth.

The company has adopted a Web-based marketing strategy that allows customers to order and pay for wine online, from the company’s home page.

Some 10-15 per cent of the company’s production is now exported to markets in the UK, US, New Zealand and in Asia, to customers who otherwise would have remained outside its reach. A small firm, that because of its geographical location may once have struggled to realise cellar door sales to customers from Perth, can now market itself across the globe.

The same story is being repeated all over Australia, and Austrade has moved to help Australian businesses reap the full potential of new e-commerce opportunities by conducting E - Commerce for Exporting workshops. One such workshop was held in Geraldton last week with the assistance of the TradeStart officers located in the Mid West Development Commission. Over a dozen local business people participated in the afternoon session and all agreed that they were able to define their future e-commerce strategies more clearly and that they now understood the actions required. Austrade will run the last of the workshops for the year on 20 December. Call (08) 92617923 for more details.

* Trevor de Carteret is Austrade’s Regional Trade Commissioner for WA.

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