Victoria’s economic development

Richard J. Owen

Chairman, ExxonMobil Australia

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Thank you to CEDA for giving us the opportunity to sponsor this important address and discussion of Victoria’s economic development.

ExxonMobil companies have been supporting this economy since we first opened for business in Melbourne in 1895.

We have always been right at the forefront of new technology.

At first it was the introduction of the mineral oil lubricants that delivered a dramatic boost in productivity to machinery in the goldfields and out on the farms.

The advent of the motor vehicle and later aircraft in the first half of the 20th Century led us to expanding fuel distribution across the state and the country, and leading to our investment in refineries.

This all contributed to our post-war boom years and as a result, the second half of the 20th century was all about oil and finding oil.

Together with our partner BHP, we brought one of the world’s first ocean-going drillships to this part of the world and found oil and gas off the Victorian coast.

This was a game changer for Victoria and Australia as a whole.

According to ACIL Allen economic modelling, the direct and indirect benefits of our Bass Strait oil and gas discoveries have added about $450 billion to the economy of Victoria alone over the years, representing an average increase of $1,250 per person per year – every man, woman and child in this state.

This revenue stream helped to fund tremendous infrastructure growth as well as underwriting much of the social reforms we saw in '70s and '80s.
Sometimes I feel we focus a bit too much on what’s new, and attracting new businesses, and we forget about the value and the importance of our old, established business to the economy.

For example, our old business sustains more than 1,500 highly paid, skilled jobs, as well as thousands more jobs with contractors and suppliers.

Not to mention the fact that there are multitudes of businesses – industrial and commercial – and thousands and thousands of jobs that rely on the energy we supply.

In the 21st century, our old business is continuing to drive the frontiers of technology.

Our researchers are continuing to push the envelope on battery technology, fuel cells, wind turbine lubricants, and many others.

We’re focusing on areas where we think we can make the greatest contributions.

In the power generation sector, it's carbon capture and storage.

In the transportation sector, we’re taking the lead on developing next-generation biofuels from algae.

And we are once again out exploring in Bass Strait, only this time we are hunting for much-needed gas resources.

We have our best technical minds working developing more of way to make more of our challenged gas more available, and we’re even looking at an LNG import terminal - all to ensure we can keep customers serviced and satisfied.

Economic development requires focus, ongoing change, dialogue, capital investments and of course passion.

Leadership plays an import role in all of this.

Like me, I’m sure you are looking forward to hearing from the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Matthew Guy.

Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Matthew had a variety of jobs including representing agricultural interests at the Victorian Farmers Federation, as well as working in the finance industry as a manager at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

He also worked in a number of political roles including for then Premier Jeff Kennett and the former Federal Assistant Treasurer. 

He was elected as the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party in December 2014. 

Please welcome The Honourable Matthew Guy. 

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