Credit: Original article can be found here
MACKAY businesses need to look further than the Bowen Basin to grow the region into an international trade hub with links around the globe.
Resource Industry Network acting general manager Dean Kirkwood said the region excelled at developing innovative METS products but needed to lift up its global profile to diversify and stabilise the economy.
“I think that our area has some of the best problem solvers in the world,” he said.
“Especially in that METS space but a lot of the businesses are focused purely on the Bowen Basin.
He said a recent study of 122 businesses in the region found 65 per cent of METS businesses made more than 80 per cent of their turn over in the coal seams just west of Mackay.
This reliance on contracts within the Bowen Basin magnified the risks of the cyclic mining economy he said.
RIN acting general manager Dean Kirkwood. Picture: Madolyn Peters
“Our METS businesses are used to that cyclic economy so they are very robust and resilient but I think moving forward that diversity is the key to really building a prosperous region,” he said.
“To grow and diversify into more and more countries is a real goal of ours.
“I would like to see Mackay businesses have an export profile in every country in the world if we can.”
Businesses in the region are already trading with Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, India and the US.
Mr Kirkwood said there were expansion opportunity in markets including Canada, Peru and Chilli as well as Russia, Poland and Mongolia.
Despite the global outlook, Mr Kirkwood said there was a lot of support needed to get businesses export ready.
“We have to concentrate first and foremost on getting our businesses export capable and get them to start exporting,” he said.
He said biggest barriers faced by those looking to export globally was access to markets, a lack of support once established abroad, sourcing skilled labour and finding the time to develop an export strategy.
Mackay businesses Mackay Conveyor Equipment, Impress Solutions, Linked Group Services and Coalport Bags will start their export journey this week guided by the Export Council of Australian in a four-week course aimed to prepare them for doing business in a global market.