Colin Brooks MP – travel report, Italy, September 2015

Parliamentary Secretary's Name Colin Brooks
Portfolio Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Countries visited Italy
Date of travel 28 September – 3 October 2015
No. of official travel days
(including date of departure and date of return)
Number of accompanying ministerial staff Nil
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $9,258
Accommodation $1,087
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $1,357
Travel cost for minister and staff $11,702

Purpose of travel

My travel to Italy from 28 September to 3 October 2015 was to lead a trade mission to Italy to attend a number of events including: Expo Milan 2015; Marmomacc Stone, Design and Technology International trade fair; and Abitare il Tempo trade fair for interior design. The trade mission was a component of the department's broader Trade Mission Program, which takes Victorian organisations to overseas markets to showcase Victoria's capabilities in key industries and to introduce the participants to potential buyers,investors and trading partners. The objectives of the travel were to:

  • promote the Victorian Government's strengths in trade;
  • provide participants with a platform to promote their products and services;
  • engage with Italian companies that currently invest in Victoria or are considering investing in Victoria;
  • deliver on a Victorian Government commitment to the Italian Government to attend Expo Milan 2015; and
  • reinforce the Victorian Government's commitment to its important bilateral relationship with Italy and Europe based on strong cultural, commercial and people-to­-people links.

Benefits of travel to the state of Victoria

Expo Milan 2015

Expo Milan 2015 was a registered exposition sanctioned by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). Registered expositions are generally held once every five years, and the theme of the 2015 expo – Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life – provided an opportunity to promote Victoria's excellent reputation for safe, reliable and high-quality food and beverage production and its sustainable urban design capabilities to visitors and more than 140 participating countries.

Attendance at Milan Expo 2015 also provided opportunities to meet with several key companies exhibiting at the event, to further support the government's trade promotion and investment attraction agenda:

  1. IVECO (Industrial Vehicles Corporation), part of the CNH Industrial Group (Case New Holland Industrial Group), is an Italian industrial vehicle manufacturing company, employing over 26,000 globally including 1,000 in Australia. IVECO's manufacturing plant in Dandenong employs 300 people and produces 700 vehicles each year, including heavy trucks and buses. The vehicles have around 85 per cent local content sourced from around 300 suppliers. My meeting with IVECO served to support the company's continued investment in Victoria and highlighted the potential benefits from the increased transfer of automotive skills and processes.
  2. Frattelli Beretta is an Italian food producer and exporter, specialising in cured meats and Italian cuisine. Fratelli Beretta products are imported and sold in Australia by the Bertocchi Group. My meeting with the company provided an opportunity to discuss the company's expansion plans, and to promote Victoria's innovative food sector as an attractive investment destination.
  3. Vinitaly is a four-day wine exhibition featuring meetings, tastings and targeted workshops to encourage contacts between exhibiting cellars and trade operators, together with an impressive convention program analysing supply and demand in Italy, Europe and the rest of the world. It attracts more than 4,000 exhibitors with 155,000 visitors (56,000 international from 120 countries). My meeting with VinItaly International, the strategic arm of Vinitaly abroad, provided an opportunity to better understand the opportunities this event may provide for Victorian winemakers to promote export sales.

2015 Marmomacc International Trade Fair

Marmomacc is the leading global event for the natural stone industry and represents the entire supply chain from raw material to semifinished and finished products, from processing machinery and technologies to applications of stone in architecture and design. Leading a delegation of Victorian architecture and design companies to this event provided an opportunity to showcase Victoria's strengths in this growing global industry.

While in Verona, I also attended a number of meetings to further leverage trade and investment opportunities for Victoria. These activities included:

  1. A meeting with Veronafiere, Italy's leading direct show organiser, which scheduled and managed 47 events in its Exhibition Centre and 20 events abroad last year. This meeting was a chance to explore further strategic opportunities to promote Victorian products and services in Europe; and
  2. A site tour of ASSO Group's minotticucine, a leader in shop fitting which manufactures and sells furniture for retail stores throughout Europe and beyond.This meeting was an opportunity to promote Victoria's strengths in architecture and design, and for travelling Victorian companies to better understand the demands of the European market.

Next steps / follow up

Trade promotion

As an outcome of my visit, Trade Victoria will continue discussions with Vinltaly and Veronafiere to identify and capture key opportunities as part of a broader strategy to promote Victorian products and services to high-potential European customers.

Investment facilitation

Following on from my visit, Invest Victoria will work with Fratelli Beretta and a potential Victorian partner to facilitate their planned investment in Victoria.

Communication of sector development strategies

As a follow-up to my visit, the Defence, Transport, Construction and Manufacturing Sector Development Team will meet with IVECO representatives in Victoria following the release of the Transport Equipment Manufacturing Strategy to communicate priority activities and proposed programs to benefit the sector.

Page last updated: 20 July 2016