Aniss, thank you so much. It is just wonderful to be here with the Chami family, to hear the story of Elie’s founding of this business. What a great Australian story. You and Robine working together, building this business.
A reminder, a reminder of this reality about us, Australians - we are the most successful multicultural society in the world, in the world. There is no nation that has more harmony, more diversity, than we do.
And our greatest asset is not minerals or resources under the ground, it’s us, it’s all of us, Australians in all of our diversity and our enterprise and your passion and our self-belief.
So thank you for what you’ve done, for what your family has done, Latify, Lucie, Anthony, and of course Aniss, with your leadership now taking over, as the new generation takes over. What a brilliant family business story. What a great Australian story.
It’s great to be here with Niall, the NSW Minister for Trade and Industry and many other things of course, Niall. We’re both committed, as you are, all of you here, to the enterprise, the entrepreneurship, the courage that is building Australian businesses and Australian jobs.
Now Aniss told me that 18 months ago, Vitex had 40 employees. It now has 140 and by the beginning of 2019, it’ll will have 440. The expansion in its capacity is even greater than that, because of the $90 million-plus of investment here in this site and of course the extraordinary level of advanced automation with all of the machinery that we’ve seen.
In fact, I think you said you could produce enough complementary medicine in a month, for all of Australia. Well of course, you’re tackling the whole world and Elie started that in 1989 with Middle Eastern markets and now of course, the huge markets in East Asia are so promising.
You know, you hear people talking doom and gloom about manufacturing in Australia, how wrong is that? Manufacturing in Australia has a great future and arguably nowhere more so than in pharmaceuticals, in food, where our clean, green reputation is so valuable.
I’ve just come back from an APEC meeting in Da Nang in Vietnam and let me tell you the enthusiasm for Australian imports, whether it is in terms of medicines, pharmaceuticals, complementary medicines or food and wine is enormous.
Three quarters of all of the Banh Mi, those bread rolls that the Vietnamese love to fill up with yummy things and eat as a snack, three quarters of all of the wheat that makes them, and of course all of the noodles too, comes from Australia. There’s a taste of Australia on every street corner in Vietnam and that is because of the great reputation we have and our famers have, our manufacturers have. This brand ‘Australia’ has never been stronger.
And of course that’s part of my government’s agenda. We have secured big free trade deals with China, with Japan and Korea. We recognise that we have to export to the whole world. We will, wherever there is a door that we can open, or push a little bit more open to get Australian exports into, we will.
We enhanced our agreement with Singapore and just last week, signed a new trade deal with Peru that offers a lot of opportunities for Australian exports.
Latin-America is a huge and rapidly growing market. Often, I think, historically somewhat overlooked by Australian exporters who have tended to look north but across the Pacific there in Latin-America, very big opportunities.
Now, the complementary medicine products that have been produced here are will benefit from that clean green reputation. And all of that means more jobs, more investment, more growth.
As you know at the last election, you probably got sick of me saying it but I talked about jobs and growth a lot – well it was an election slogan, now it is an outcome.
Unemployment right now – 5.4 per cent. The lowest it has been since January 2013.
In the last year, we’ve created over 350,000 jobs. In fact, 355,000 jobs. That is almost 1,000 jobs a day.
That is the growth that we are seeing. 85 per cent of them full time.
And you can see that job growth is coming from Australian businesses investing, doing exactly what the Chami family have done – going to their bank, taking a risk, backing themselves. Their entrepreneurship, their enterprise is what is delivering that jobs growth.
That is why we have reduced company taxes. At this stage only up to companies with turnovers up to $50 million a year but those small and medium businesses, up to that level, they employ collectively half of the Australian private sector workforce. So that is a lot of people and a lot of businesses. It is a lot of jobs.
We will continue to drive that. We know that if you invest more, you give businesses the opportunity to save more from what they’ve earnt and invest more, you will get more employment.
Also, as you know, we are committed to ensuring that energy is affordable. It is a huge cost for every business. For some businesses it is the largest single overhead item they have.
Our National Energy Guarantee will ensure that energy is affordable and reliable and we meet our global emissions reduction obligations. Pulling that all together as part of our commitment, once again, to give families like the Chami family and thousands of others every opportunity to invest, to grow, to employ.
So I want to say congratulations to all of the team at Vitex. Everybody, the Chami’s and the ‘Chami-fied’ – all of you, to all of you, this is a fantastic new facility.
I am really honoured to be here as I know Niall is. Our two governments, two Coalition governments, we are backing you.
We know that your enterprise is the future. Your enterprise secures the future prosperity for not just Vitex and its employees and its customers, partners, but the nation. This is what it is all about. Investment, entrepreneurship, enterprise, opening up big markets, advanced manufacturing, innovation.
Aniss, Elie, Robine and all your family – you’ve pulled it altogether here, you’ve done a fantastic job. I am so proud as your Prime Minister to be here, to help you open officially this great new facility.
Thank you very much.