The Hon Ben Carroll MP – travel report – Israel, 11 to 18 March 2023

Minister The Hon Ben Carroll MP

Minister for Industry and Innovation

Minister for Manufacturing Sovereignty

Minister for Employment

Minister for Public Transport

Countries visited Israel
Date of travel 11 to 18 March 2023 (inclusive)
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions
Air fares (including taxes and fees) $25,538*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $10,915*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $7,261*
Travel cost for minister and staff $43,714*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The main purpose of travel to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel was to strengthen Victoria’s economic, industry and cultural ties. This included developing and securing investment opportunities in the priority sectors of medtech, aviation, and defence, and connecting with Israel’s renowned innovation and startup ecosystems.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel

While in Israel, I reinforced the longstanding relationship Victoria shares with the country and focused on advancing our trade and investment partnerships.

  • Securing direct flights between Israel and Melbourne to generate business and tourism benefits
    • Meeting with the CEO of EL AL Airlines where I signed a Letter of Intent between the Victorian Government and the airline to secure non-stop flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne by December 2024. The airline’s intention is to operate 3 services per week, which are expected to add 44,000 seats to Melbourne each year, deliver a $48 million annual boost to the State’s economy and create an estimated 155 jobs in aviation and tourism. Once operational, the flights will provide a non-stop air link between Israel and Australia and position Melbourne as the airline’s hub for passengers travelling to destinations across Australia and New Zealand.
  • Promoting collaboration in innovation and supporting startup growth
    • Hosting a networking event with several Israeli startups and venture capital funds where I promoted the aims of Victorian Government initiatives including Breakthrough Victoria, LaunchVic and the VISTECH program. Those in attendance were able to exchange ideas, share expertise and identify growth opportunities in the Victorian market. This highlighted where there may be some potential future investment prospects, particularly within the area of innovation.
    • Meeting with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA), where I announced a new round of the Victoria-Israel Science and Technology R&D Fund (VISTECH) program. The new round of VISTECH will continue to promote collaboration between Israeli and Victorian businesses. The meeting was also an opportunity to explore further investment in collaborative and innovative projects as part of our long-standing partnership.
    • Meeting with Tel Aviv University (TAU) to better understand its approach to commercialisation of technology including through its partnerships, the joint Data Science Institute established in collaboration with Swinburne University, and the Cancer Research Collaboration Initiative between La Trobe University. Our meeting was also an opportunity to discuss TAU’s own early-stage venture capital fund, TAU Ventures, which aims to invest in the next generation of impactful Israeli technology companies.
    • Meeting with Israel’s venture fund, Viola Credit, where I welcomed potential opportunities to expand its presence in Victoria and investment in start-ups, supporting local job creation and growth.
    • Undertaking a site visit and meeting with Electreon, a world-leading provider of wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles (EVs). The meeting was a great opportunity to learn about Electreon’s technology and how it could be implemented within Victoria as we continue exploring zero-emission bus fleets and supporting EV charging infrastructure.
    • Hosting an event with the Australian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Dr Ralph King, and many of Israel’s industry leaders from fields including defence, food manufacturing, AgTech and medtech. I highlighted that the Victorian Government is keen to appeal to more Israeli companies that bring innovative technologies and the potential of strong economic growth.
  • Strengthening medtech and health innovation collaboration
    • Engagement with leading medtech and BioTech companies, CSL and Kamada, to discuss Israel’s diverse ecosystem and to gain a deeper understanding of where there are opportunities for the State to increase partnerships. I also engaged with Kamada to learn about their current biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities, as well as learning about potential future opportunities for collaboration and investment.
    • Meeting with Sheba Medical Center where I witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sheba and Monash University in relation to medtech. The activities delivered through the MoU will help boost adoption of health innovations developed in Victoria, particularly in the cardiovascular health field. The MoU will also strengthen Victoria’s connections with a world-leading hospital, opening greater opportunities to take Victorian medtech solutions worldwide.
    • Visiting the site where the Gandel Rehabilitation Center is being constructed at the Hadassah Hospital. This was a great opportunity to see the Gandel Foundation’s new investment and to reinforce the longstanding history of collaboration between Victorian institutions and Hadassah Hospital.

  • Pursuing defence industry opportunities
    • Building on the recent establishment of a research collaboration agreement with Victoria, meeting with SIBAT to continue the promotion of trade relations in the defence, aerospace, security and cybersecurity sectors.
    • Meeting with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to discuss their expansion plans within Victoria following the signing of a cooperation agreement with NIOA’s Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) in 2021. I advised IAI that the Victorian Government is keen to explore future investment opportunities.
    • Undertaking a site visit and meeting with Elbit where I reaffirmed the Victorian Government’s commitment to the Human and Machine Teaming (HUM-T) Centre of Excellence (CoE) established in Port Melbourne in 2021. I was also pleased to engage in discussions to further understand opportunities for increased cooperation with Elbit Systems of Australia (ELSA).
    • Undertaking a site visit and meeting with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd where I explored its partnership with Varley and the prospects of strengthening its manufacturing presence in Victoria.
    • Undertaking a site visit and meeting with Plasan where I promoted Victoria as a great region for any future presence and investment that Plasan may be exploring. The meeting also provided the opportunity to discuss Plasan’s contract with Hanwha Defence Australia (HDA) which sees Plasan as HDA’s vehicle survivability and protection partner on the Land 400 Phase 3 program.
    • Meeting with Lt Gen (res) Gabi Ashkenazi, from BSW, a provider of cyber education services internationally, across schools, universities, corporations and industry. The meeting was an opportunity to confirm the importance of strengthening cyber capabilities internationally, and the role Victoria can play as the location for BSW’s activities in Australia.
  • Strengthening cultural linkages
    • Meeting with the Former Ambassador for Australia to Israel and current board member of the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Mr Mark Sofer. The meeting was an important opportunity to continue strengthening the State’s relationship with Israel, as well as highlighting priority markets for investment and trade which includes defence, manufacturing and energy. It was also a chance to learn and understand more about the current economic and political environment in Israel.
    • Touring the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and meeting with dignitaries including a member of its Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. The meeting was a great occasion to promote the State of Victoria as a trusted partner for trade and investment in a range of priority areas.
    • Visiting Yad Vashem to lay a wreath on behalf of the State to pay respects to the 6 million Jews and many other victim groups who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Next Steps / Follow Up

  • Finalise the agreement with EL AL and facilitate any logistical issues to ensure that direct flights commence by December 2024.
  • To launch and open the new round of the Victoria-Israel Science and Technology R&D Fund (VISTECH) program by June 2023.
  • Facilitate individual opportunities for Israeli startups to pursue opportunities in the Victorian market and strengthen linkages between Israeli VCs and Breakthrough Victoria.
  • Ensure a strong Victorian industry and government delegation at BIOMed Israel in May 2023.
  • Continue to pursue opportunities for Israeli defence partnerships with Victorian companies, particularly in light of opportunities arising from the Australian Government’s Defence Strategic Review.
  • Continue to work with Viola Credit towards encouraging increased investment activity in Victoria.
  • Continue our strong engagement with Israeli companies that already have investments in Victoria, including SolarEdge, SodaStream, Checkpoint, Netafim and TIPA.
  • Continue discussions with Israel’s startups and venture capital funds ecosystems, especially those strongly considering expanding their activity into the State, including BSW, Electreon, AMoon, Wiz, Track160, Exelerate, Optibus, MDClone, Aleph Farms, Scopio Labs and Plastic Back.

Page last updated: 5 July 2023