30 Jun 2022
The 2010s saw Australian trade growing strongly across the board. Both exports and imports helped create employment, with one in five Australian jobs related to trade in 2010.
Australia registered a $15.2 billion trade surplus in 2010, reversing a 2009 trade deficit of $4.8 billion. The value of Australia's exports increased 13.9% to a new record high of $284.2 billion.
Also in 2010, Australia's total trade with China grew to $105 billion. This was 23.5% more than in the previous year. It was also the first time that Australia's two-way trade with a single nation had reached the $100 billion mark.
The US also remained an important trading partner throughout the decade. Two-way trade in goods and services between Australia and the US rose to more than $60 billion in 2014. Two-way investment more than doubled.
Tourism also saw major gains throughout the decade. By mid-2015, annual international arrivals had reached a record 7 million. By 2016, the sector had reached the Government’s 2020 growth targets.
By 2012, all signatories to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area had ratified the FTA. Australia’s economy was ranked 12th largest in the world in 2012, up from 15th in 2006.
The 2010s also saw three major FTAs with North Asia come into force: Korea (December 2014), Japan (January 2015) and China (December 2015). These FTAs opened up major markets for Australia’s exporters.
2016 saw Australia and 11 other countries in the Pacific region sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP removed several barriers to trade, making it easier to export and import goods and services in the region.
Important trade agreements with Peru (2018) and Indonesia (2019) were signed during the decade. They provided new opportunities for Australian exporters in these fast-growing economies.
The digital economy continued to impact Aussie business throughout the 2010s. The rise of social media advertising meant exporters had another important marketing tool. It also saw a rise in companies exporting direct to consumers.
images courtesy of Future Fibre Technologies
Future Fibre Technologies: Security for the world
Australian Exporter of the Year 2010
In an increasingly globalised marketplace, high-asset businesses and governments are exposed to complex security challenges. As the risk of intrusion rises, one Australian company is providing security solutions to the world’s most high-profile organisations.
Future Fibre Technologies (FFT) is an Australian-owned technology company specialising in fibre optic-based intrusion detection systems.
Founded in 1994, FFT is now the world leader in its craft. With employees across six continents, export sales make up more than 95% of the company’s total revenue. FFT currently has more than 2,500 systems installed in 70 countries.
Innovative security tech goes global
In 2010, FFT won the Australian Exporter of the Year award. It also won the Small to Medium Manufacturer category at the 48th Australian Export Awards.
‘The award validated that an Australian developer and manufacturer of innovative fibre optic intrusion detection solutions could successfully take its technology overseas against much larger players,’ says FFT Chief Executive, Rob Broomfield.
‘It also confirmed what we as a company already knew – that locally developed technology could become a market leader on the global stage. This is exactly what has happened in the decade since receiving the award.’
Securing the world’s largest security contract
Since 2010, FFT has continued to grow its global footprint. ‘We continue to invest in innovation and are strongly profitable,’ says Broomfield.
The company recently secured one of the world’s largest-ever data network-security contracts. This involves protecting 40,000 kilometres of fibre for the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Exporter of the Year Award contributes to export success
Broomfield says the Australian Export Award has proved valuable in several ways.
‘We built on the recognition to grow the company and place it into public ownership,’ he says.
‘When Future Fibre Technologies listed on the ASX in 2015, the award was of interest to potential investors. It confirmed that the company’s addressable market extended well beyond Australian shores.
‘The Australian Export Award demonstrated that FFT already had traction internationally, and that has proved a foundation for significant future growth.’
images courtesy of Sedgman
Sedgman’s global engineering solutions
Australian Exporter of the Year 2011
Australia is a country rich in natural resources. It makes sense that many of the world’s cutting-edge mining innovations have been developed and refined here on home soil.
CIMIC Group company, Sedgman, is a leading provider of minerals processing and associated infrastructure solutions to the global resources industry.
Sedgman has expanded from its early days in coal. Today, its expertise includes iron ore, precious and base metals, and industrial minerals. Sedgman’s Australian heritage has turned into a legacy of projects around the world. The company uses data and knowledge gained across four decades, hundreds of projects, and numerous countries to raise industry benchmarks.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Sedgman has offices in Shanghai, China, and Vancouver, Canada. These offices target the growth regions of Australia and North America as well as a procurement hub in China.
Client partnerships that deliver results
Since 1980, Sedgman has advanced the standard of excellence and innovation for clients across coal and iron ore, precious and base metals, and industrial minerals.
From engineering design to project delivery and operations, its integrated approach creates a unique 360º feedback loop that drives continual improvement. Sedgman’s engineering-led approach drives its ability to take on diverse challenges with confidence.
Sedgman partners with its clients to ensure tailored, world-class outcomes that stand apart for reliability, efficiency, productivity and performance. This optimises client investments, maximises resource recovery and lowering unit costs.
Stringent planning, environmental management plans and cultural awareness are further Sedgman hallmarks.
Australian Exporter of the Year an important boost
Sedgman won its first Australian Export Award in 2010. The following year, the company won a second Australian Export Award and won Australian Exporter of the Year.
‘Winning the award was a boost, particularly given the global economic uncertainty at the time,’ says Sedgman Managing Director Grant Fraser.
‘It reflected the great effort by all Sedgman employees to create opportunities in the global mining sector that benefit clients, shareholders and the wider community.’
Recognition as a global company in the resources sector has been fundamental to Sedgman’s growth and success, says Fraser.
‘This award has aided our international brand recognition and our reputation with our clients.’
Further growth and opportunity
Fraser points to two important exporting successes following the company’s Australian Export Award win. These include opening offices in China and Canada.
‘Our procurement office in Shanghai was established in 2012. It provides sourcing services for equipment and fabricated materials from high-quality fabricators and suppliers in China.
‘We also opened our office in Vancouver in 2013. This office services the North American market. It has grown over time to provide a full service offering in Canada and the US.’
The Pumpkin Hollow Copper Concentrator that Sedgman delivered for Nevada Copper in 2020 is a great example of the Vancouver office’s capability.
images including cover image courtesy of Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils
Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils’ sustainable custodianship
Australian Export Award Winner 2018
WA-based Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils produces premium sandalwood oil for the global luxury perfume and cosmetics markets.
The company makes its unique essential oils by fusing Indigenous harvested wild wood from native title lands with sustainably managed plantation wood.
A United Nations Equator Prize and two-time winner of an Australian Export Award , Dutjahn currently exports around 70% of its product output. By offering sustainable sandalwood products to the world, Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils is facilitating ongoing sustainable custodianship.
A rich cultural history
Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils evolved out of separately created but aligned visions for sustainable agroforestry, responsibility and economic success. The company is backed by Dutjahn Custodians, Kutkabbuba Aboriginal Corporation and WA Sandalwood Plantations.
Dutjahn Custodians is a 100% Indigenous company founded by Darren Farmer, Clinton Farmer, Kado Muir and Katina Law. Darren and Clinton are traditional Gibson Desert Aboriginal men. They hold a cultural responsibility to safeguard Santalum spicatum (Dutjahn) in their homelands deep in the Gibson Desert.
When Dutjahn Custodians secured a 1,000-tonne sandalwood oil-processing contract, they embarked on a joint venture with WA Sandalwood Plantations founders Keith Drage and Ron Mulder.
Working directly with Australian farmers and investors, Drage and Mulder have built a debt-free structure that manages 13,000 hectares of Dutjahn plantations. These provide vital soil salinity mitigation and other key environmental benefits to regional Australia.
Despite their different backgrounds, these companies share a vision to make high quality essential oil using sustainable sandalwood that brings important societal, cultural and environmental benefits. The model also offers a credible long-term supply of sandalwood oil not seen before in Western Australia.
Australian Export Award a major milestone
Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils won its first Australian Export Award in 2018 and won again in 2019.
‘Winning was a milestone for our company, which was only incorporated in mid-2017,’ says Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils CEO Guy Vincent. ‘It was an endorsement of the hard work and cooperation that we achieved as early-stage partners in a unique Indigenous and non-Indigenous joint venture. It emboldened us as a group and affirmed our business plan, giving us confidence to keep pushing hard.’
Vincent says the credibility afforded by the win flowed through to other national and global awards. These successes helped elevate the Dutjahn brand and ethical sourcing credentials. This helped the company secure major accounts in the fine fragrance and cosmetics sectors, like Estee Lauder, Aesop and Givaudan.
‘To be recognised by your government and industry peers naturally breeds a sense of self,’ says Vincent. ‘It engenders confidence that what you are doing is on a path to success, which becomes self-fulfilling.
‘Whilst a cliche, success does breed confidence. This confidence has allowed our company to pursue goals that were little more than dreams a few years ago.’
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