The Hon Martin Pakula MP – Travel Report – United States of America, 22 – 28 July 2019

MinisterThe Hon Martin Pakula MP

Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events
Minister for Racing

Countries visitedUnited States of America (USA)
Date of travel22 to 28 July 2019 (inclusive)
No. of official travel days
(including day of departure and day of return)
7 days
Number of accompanying ministerial staff1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacityNo
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency)Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Air fares (including taxes and fees)$35,551*
Accommodation (including taxes and fees)$4,797*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances)$‭6,743‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬*
Travel cost for minister and staff$47,091*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The main purpose of my official travel to New York was to promote Victoria’s major events, tourism, medical technologies and pharmaceutical, food and fibre capabilities, as well as strengthening bilateral relationships and encouraging Victorian investment opportunities.

The highlight was Melbourne cementing its place as Australia’s theatre capital with the announcement that Moulin Rouge! The Musical production will come to Melbourne in 2021. The new stage production, fresh from an acclaimed Broadway debut which I witnessed first-hand, is based on Baz Luhrmann’s award-winning musical film Moulin Rouge! The government has backed this theatrical coup, as well as a major $19.4 million refurbishment of the Regent Theatre where it will be staged.

The musical will further boost jobs in the events and creative sectors in Victoria which continues to be the cultural capital of Australia, with recent industry reports showing the state generates the highest share of national live performance attendance, as well as the highest share of attendance at musical theatre productions.

As part of my visit, I met with high-profile American sporting organisations, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League, to discuss potential procurement of events to complement Victoria’s major events calendar.

Major events are a key part of the state’s economy, generating more than $1.8 billion each year and bringing visitors from across Australia and around the world to Victoria.

Attracting high-profile American sporting events will also provide an opportunity to continue to grow tourism from the United States (U.S.), which is Victoria’s third largest source of international visitors, with growth of 4.4 per cent in the year ending March 2019 to reach 247,000 visitors.

The U.S. is Victoria’s sixth largest international market in terms of visitor expenditure, with U.S. visitor expenditure in Victoria increasing by 14.3 per cent in the year ending March 2019 to reach $388 million.

I also undertook targeted meetings with Pfizer, Praxis Precision Medicines / Blackstone Life Sciences, Boehringer Ingelheim, BioLabs and Celgene to expand pharmaceutical manufacturing exports in Victoria; attract major life science companies to Victoria and secure expanded R&D activities as well as to learn about new medical technologies where Victoria has capabilities and international connections.

The U.S. medical technologies and pharmaceuticals sector remains one of the most prospective markets for Victoria, in terms of trade, investment, research and collaboration.

The U.S. is the leading export market for the Victorian medical technologies and pharmaceutical sector. In 2018 Victoria exported over $993 million in pharmaceutical products and over $23.8 million in medical technologies and devices to the U.S.

Victoria’s pharmaceuticals sector is growing rapidly, contributing more than $2.2 billion in exports in 2018 compared to just $873 million in 2014.

There are more than 22 Victorian pharmaceutical manufacturers producing products for international markets using Victoria’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.

A report by ACIL Allen Consulting shows that between 1999-2017, government support for the sector has generated $39.6 billion in additional revenue and delivered more than a three-fold economic benefit on investment.

The latest trade data also reveals that Victoria’s pharmaceutical exports have grown 255 per cent over the past four years, earning $2.2 billion in 2018 and making it the state’s highest-value manufactured export product.

Finally, I met with Fowles Wine USA (a leading, premium Victorian winery focussed on increasing exports to the U.S.) and Dream Merchant Wines (a wine distributor) to discuss current trends in the wine industry and to promote Victoria as a producer of premium, cool climate wines. This supports the government’s Wine Industry Development Strategy 2017-2021 and Wine to the World, a $5 million election commitment in the 2019-20 Budget (allocated over four years) aimed at initiatives to support Victorian wine producers to create jobs and increase exports, in particular in the U.S. and China which are identified as key priority markets.

The state’s wine industry is worth $7.6 billion to the Victorian economy and employs around 13,000 people, mostly in regional areas.

Victorian wine exports were valued at $363 million in 2017-18 with the top markets being China ($167 million), UK ($50 million) and the U.S. ($33 million).

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria

My official travel further aided Victoria’s long history of engagement with the U.S., which is also supported by Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) offices in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC, and a sister-city partnership between Melbourne and Boston.

The U.S. is Victoria's second most valuable goods export destination, an important and growing market for services exports and a vital source of foreign direct investment. Victorian goods exports to the U.S. were worth $4 billion in 2018. Top goods exports include pharmaceuticals, aircraft and parts, and beef.

The visit successfully supported Victoria securing the Broadway musical production Moulin Rouge! The Musical for Melbourne in 2021. This will further boost jobs in the events and tourism industry for the state.

In addition, my meetings with high-profile American sporting organisations aided ongoing discussions with Visit Victoria around their engagement with Australia and Victoria. This supports Visit Victoria’s strategic priority to attract major events to Melbourne and drive visitation to the state.

Meetings with Pfizer, Celgene, Boehringer Ingelheim, Praxis Precision Medicines / Blackstone Life Sciences and BioLabs continued to develop relationships with medical technologies and pharmaceutical industry leaders which have invested or are considering investment in Victoria.

Finally, my meeting with Fowles Wine USA and Dream Merchant Wines discussed export opportunities and running a series of events in market to showcase Victorian wines. This will build on Aussie Wine Month, which is a Wine Australia campaign that the government (through Global Victoria) is supporting in the U.S. in September and October 2019.

Next Steps / Follow Up

Ongoing investment and project discussions by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), Visit Victoria and the VGTI Americas network are taking place with all stakeholders and companies visited to maximise opportunities and outcomes created by my official travel.

Page last updated: 22 October 2019