Speech given by the Governor at the Governor of Victoria Export Awards.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands on which this House stands – the Wurundjeri and Bunurong people – and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you all here this evening to mark the 44th Governor of Victoria Export Awards.
Awards like these recognise areas of endeavour in which Victoria excels.
Indeed, many of the categories – such as international health, agribusiness and international education and training – represent industries and sectors in which Victoria is a national leader.
Our State is home to leading universities that complete vital medical research. The medical schools of Melbourne and Monash University were ranked 17th and 32nd respectively by the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. This high international quality is the foundation of significant opportunities for innovative products and services.
Victoria benefits from the work of 18 world-class medical research institutes including the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, as well as its universities.
The city of Melbourne has been the Australian leader in the QS Best Student City index since 2015, supporting a vibrant international education sector.
And between 2021 and 2022, Victoria remained Australia’s largest food and fibre exporter by value – accounting for 26% of the national total.
It was perhaps unsurprising then, that Victoria was the first Australian state to have its ‘homegrown’ businesses win Australian Exporter of the Year, five years in a row.
Or that five Victorian businesses were named winners in the 2022 National Export Awards.
The Governor of Victoria Export Awards highlight our strengths, but they also reflect our emphasis on engaging with the world and testing our strengths internationally.
They recognise and celebrate the importance of an open and questing economy fuelled by organisations seeking a larger field on which to test themselves.
Cross-cultural trade within Victoria pre-dates European colonisation.
And, there is growing research to suggest that Indigenous communities across Australia traded with people from what is now known as Indonesia and China.
Post colonisation brought commercial networks from Indo-Britain and then swiftly within other nations.
I’m conscious that many of you built businesses strong enough to push beyond local markets and developed complex, multi-dimensional brands that appeal to diverse audiences.
It takes perseverance, curiosity and courage to create and manage your own business and to secure successful trade links by being able to look beyond the local market.
To explore new ways of doing things and expand your boundaries.
In doing so, you improve the creativity of your business but also the capacity of this State.
Thank you to all those involved in the planning and delivery of tonight’s awards. For managing the logistics of this evening and undertaking the difficult task of deciding the winners.
Congratulations to all nominees and award winners. And best of luck to those who will be representing our State at the Australian Export Awards later this year.
I now invite the Treasurer to address us.