Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery welcomed visiting delegates to a two day Illawarra Industry Showcase on Thursday by thanking them for considering the possibilities of doing business in the city.
He described the Illawarra Innovation Industry Network (i3net) as a successful collaboration of businesses keen to showcase the region’s potential. And acknowledged chair Emilio Salucci and the i3net directors for their leadership and what they have achieved.
“This showcase highlights our local industry’s capability in manufacturing and associated sectors. It is an opportunity to present the wide ranging skills and expertise available in our manufacturing and engineering industries to key customers around Australia.”
“Wollongong council along with its Advantage Wollongong partners the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and the University of Wollongong are working hard to market and champion growth and success.”
Cr Bradbery was in Japan last week and one of the things he noted there and in China was the amount of energy put into the application of engineering and technology to their nation’s well-being. He said that was why Australia had to make things and not just rely on what it can dig out of the ground.
“Manufacturing remains for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, our regions largest sector in total economic output. Producing something like $5.8 billion in 2016/17. The sector is also one of the largest contributors to Wollongong’s exports.
“Today the manufacturing industry employs over 8000 people in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven. Of which 70 per cent work in the Wollongong local government area.”
“Wollongong has a strong manufacturing past which we continue to build upon as the economy continues to diversify locally.”
Cr Bradbery said at least 20 business had the capability to help the defence sector.
“A key to this strength is the well established skills base in the region and high level of collaboration between industry and training providers such as TAFE and the University of Wollongong.”
“There is a tremendous wealth of experience, innovation and enthusiasm in our local industries. And recent research from Knight Frank highlights continued interest in Wollongong’s industrial market particularly with businesses considering the move from Sydney due to the affordability and proximity to our port.”
A low cost base, high skill levels and livability all provide a definite advantage which is why council’s economic development team keep fielding interest from Sydney manufacturing and engineering firms.