Australia: When differences matter

By Daniel Taylor, head of manufacturing, NZTE

It might be the one market of scale where we enjoy geographic advantage, but we still see too many New Zealand manufacturers making the mistake of assuming just because New Zealand and Australia share a common language (more or less) and a love of sport that our markets are also the same.

Manufacturing is a key industry for Australia with national growth and investment focused on defence, food production, medical technology, clean energy, critical mineral processing, agriculture and space sectors to name just a few.  This creates significant opportunities for New Zealand manufacturers to tap into sophisticated value chains, but these opportunities can’t be taken for granted.

While there are undoubtedly commonalities that we should absolutely leverage, it’s the differences that can trip businesses up.  Whether it’s tax regimes, employment law or State and Federal legislation, being across the detail matters.  As with all export markets, those thinking about Australia as a target need to do their research in order to get a real feel for the market, the competition and the potential customer set.

Once the opportunity has been validated, companies need to invest and commit – this means placing people in market, having a clear value proposition and strategy – and being patient! It can often take a couple of years to feel like you are making headway in this competitive but rewarding market.

It’s worth remembering, too, that Australians are a parochial bunch, and prefer to buy Australian goods and services. Ideally, they’d prefer to buy from their own State rather than look further afield. There has been an extensive campaign over a number of years to ‘Buy Australian,’ in support of local manufacturers and producers, so the challenge, and the opportunity, is to have an offer that can’t be replicated locally.

Our Australia Market Guide is packed with useful info for exporters, covering Australia’s business culture, compliance and tax requirements, employment law and an assessment of each state’s economic strengths and weaknesses. Check it out: Australia Market Guide – myNZTE.