1990s - The rise of the new economy

As the 1990s kicked off, Australia's trade landscape was changing. We saw the beginnings of the shift away from manufacturing and agriculture towards services. 

A changing trade landscape

As the 1990s kicked off, Australia's trade landscape was changing.  

We saw the beginnings of the shift away from manufacturing and agriculture towards services. By the end of the decade, services were a valuable export earner for the nation. They made up just under a quarter of total exports.

Trade liberalisation continued well into the 1990s. We saw further marketing scheme deregulation for export commodities like wool, wheat, meat and dairy.

Australia increasingly engaged with the booming Asian region. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum become an important way of economically integrating with our closest neighbours.

But in 1997, the five ‘tigers’ – Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand – hit a stumbling block. The high growth of these nations came to a halt. The 1997 Asian financial crisis was felt worldwide, including in Australia. It slowed growth and contributed to the economic recession of the late 1990s. However, the recession here was far less severe than those in most other countries that traded with the ‘tigers’ at the time.

This decade was ultimately defined by ‘the new economy’. New technologies and the rise of the internet had a profound and irreversible impact on Australian business.

Australia's high take-up of the new economy also influenced trade. Australia fast became one of the world’s major e-commerce users, allowing us to make a bigger splash in global markets.

Tassal: Swimming for success

Australian Export Awards winner, 1993

Tassal is Australia’s largest producer of Tasmanian-grown Atlantic salmon and a leader in blue agtech.

The company proudly pioneered the salmon farming industry in Australia 35 years ago. It’s driven to responsibly produce healthy, fresh seafood for a growing population.

Sustainability for all

Tassal’s reputation as a global pioneer in salmon farming is underpinned by a focus on quality and sustainability.

The company employs a dedicated salmon husbandry team, who ensure the salmon’s health, welfare and nutrition needs are met. It runs extensive monitoring programs to track the impact of salmon farming on the seabed and water column.

Tassal is also focused on driving energy efficiency in its operations. It is currently transitioning to renewable energy on some locations and investing in new technologies. The company has committed to spending $60 million over three years on initiatives, research and development to reduce the impact of climate change on its operations.

The company also supports local Tasmanians. One in 20 working Tasmanians work directly or indirectly in the salmon industry. This makes it one of Tasmania’s biggest supporters of regional communities. Tassal alone currently employs around 1,700 people across Australia.

Swimming for success in 2021–22

2021–22 has been Tassal’s most successful export year in its history.

But Brian Keenan, Senior Manager of International Salmon at Tassal, notes that the company’s export program has been inconsistent since 1993.

‘The fresh salmon industry in Australia has experienced enormous domestic growth over the last three decades,’ he says. 

‘Fresh salmon is now readily available within your supermarkets, fresh seafood stores and restaurants throughout Australia. The combination of domestic market growth and local supply commitments has meant export volumes have fluctuated.’

The Australian Export Award provides global validation

Tassal won an Australian Export Award in 1993. Keenan says that recognition validates the hard work involved in marketing goods internationally.

‘It instils pride within the business and particularly with the key stakeholders involved with the export program,’ he says. ‘It also creates a sense of accomplishment and recognition for numerous employees in our organisation.’

Keenan notes that the recognition is often well received by Tassal’s overseas customers.

‘International customers are always looking for key benefits and features to promote our product within their markets,’ he says. ‘Well-recognised national awards like the Australian Export Awards assist in providing an additional level of validation.’

Visit the Tassal website.

Salmon cooked with herbs, tomatoes and olives on a plate
Grilled salmon with herb sauce
Salmon farm in a bay in Tasmania

Images courtesy of Tassal

ANCA: Making the cut

Winner of Australian Export Award, 1995

ANCA began with a $4,000 mini-computer and a drive to innovate. The company was founded by Pat McCluskey and Pat Boland close to 50 years ago.

Today, ANCA is the world-leading manufacturer of CNC grinding machines, motion controls, precision components and sheet metal solutions. It exports 99% of its products to customers in more than 45 countries.

With global headquarters in Melbourne, ANCA also has offices in the UK, Germany, China, Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and the US. It employs more than 1,000 people and boasts a comprehensive network of representatives and agents worldwide.

Taking Aussie innovation to the world

More than anything, ANCA’s 50-year growth has been driven by a series of innovations that revolutionised cutting tool production.

ANCA innovations include a touch probe measurement in grinding machines, in-machine measurements using a CCD camera, 3D tool simulation, wheel balancing and many more.

In 1986, ANCA launched its first overseas branch in Michigan. This was a huge step that propelled the business into a decade of sustained growth.

Other branches quickly followed across Europe and Asia. ANCA’s first China office was established in early 2004. The business recently opened a new ANCA Asia headquarters in Shanghai.

Australian Export Award one of ANCA’s proudest moments

ANCA won its first Australian Export Award and Australian Exporter of the Year in 1995. ANCA also won awards in 2012 and 2015. In 2016 ANCA joined the Hall of Fame.

‘Australian Exporter of the Year is one of our proudest awards in our publicity,’ says ANCA co-founder Pat Boland. ‘It’s been something to rally the team around. It shows them how their hard work has been recognised by an important external panel.’

Boland also believes the Australian Export Award has come in handy during the recruitment process. ‘The recognition gives candidates the assurance that they are working for a successful company,’ he says. ‘That’s really important for long-term growth.’

Boland has found it well worthwhile to apply to the Australian Export Awards.

‘If you have a good story – and there are so many good stories out there – this a chance to tell that story to the world,’ he says. ‘It also gives credence to whoever you’re talking to, be it investors, bankers, suppliers, local or international customers.’

Visit the ANCA website.

Grinding machines and other equipment on display
People at trade exhibition viewing equipment
Executives at podium opening ANCA Asia headquarters in Shanghai.

Images courtesy of ANCA


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