Today I had the pleasure of hosting a delegation of Italian infrastructure and transport companies who are in Australia this week exploring investment opportunities.
This delegation, led by the Italian Secretary of State, Mr Staffan de Mistura, is the largest ever Italian delegation to visit our shores and follows discussions I held in Italy last week with Confidustria – the peak body for the manufacturing, construction, energy and transportation industries.
Australia and Italy enjoy a warm and long-standing relationship underpinned by links between our people and our businesses.
Nearly one million Australians have Italian ancestry and at least 30,000 Australians are estimated to live in Italy.
Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for both countries to explore mutual infrastructure investment opportunities and further strengthened our bilateral economic relations.
The delegation which includes major companies such as Ansaldo STS, Ghella and Mermec is also visiting Sydney and Perth to inspect a range of major infrastructure projects and engage with political and business leaders, including Infrastructure Australia.
Foreign investment in infrastructure is vital to the future economic wellbeing of the nation and key to improving Australia’s productivity. As well as generating jobs for Australians, this signals confidence in our economy and healthy competition ensures we get the right price for our infrastructure investment.
Italian based companies do, and will, play an important role in delivering Australia’s future infrastructure needs. They are already involved in delivering major Australian infrastructure projects such as the South Road ‘Superway’ in Adelaide and the Legacy Way Tunnel in Brisbane.
There is a large demand for infrastructure development in Australia and the Federal Labor Government is providing the opportunity for international infrastructure investment and expertise so as to meet the transport and infrastructure needs for our nation.
Through our National Infrastructure Construction Schedule we are putting investment opportunities at the fingertips of companies world-wide; we want those companies to come here.