Dow Chemical lunch with Andrew Liveris

The Melbourne Chamber of Commerce and the Victorian Chamber had the pleasure of hosting a luncheon with Andrew Liveris AO, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, at the Jim Stynes Grill, MCG, on 23 March 2017.

A recognised global business leader who has been with Dow for more than 40 years, Darwin-born Liveris’ illustrious career has spanned roles in manufacturing, engineering, sales, marketing and general management. 

During this highly successful event attended by leaders in business, government and education, Liveris spoke of the pace of digitisation of industries and why Australia needs the skills and training that educates the workforce for new, technology-focused jobs. “When it comes to jobs, it is no longer about ‘white collar’ or ‘blue collar’. It is about ‘new collar’,” said Liveris.

Liveris, who was asked to lead President Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative, described how he is seeking to boost U.S. manufacturing by focusing on four pillars of competitiveness. These involve: retraining and reskilling the workforce; streamlining regulations; investing in infrastructure and reforming tax policy to encourage more investment.

Referring to domestic energy issues in Australia, Liveris relayed a stark warning: “Australia, as we all know, is facing an energy crisis that is creating blackouts in the middle of summer and driving businesses ... to invest elsewhere.”

To address this, Liveris called for steps to craft a balanced energy policy. He echoed the Victorian Chamber’s calls to lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration in Victoria (which was extended on 7 March) and urged for more exploration and development around the country.

He also said that Australia needs to “build a more open and connected gas pipeline system” and that an energy strategy “must also include renewables and a price on carbon that transitions over time.”

Liveris’ hope is that Australia will reduce its exposure to the commodities cycle, by investing in “innovation-driven, high tech, high value-add industries that drive sustainable growth – industries like manufacturing.” He described how Dow became transformed into an “engine of innovation”, and how Australia could make a similar change.

“Australia’s greatest natural resource is not what lies beneath our feet,” said Liveris. “It is the talent and drive and creativity of our people.”

This story originally appeared in the Business Excellence Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 2, Winter 2017.

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