Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023


Marine Biotechnology

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:19): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the important marine biotechnology conferences held in Adelaide earlier this month?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:19): I thank the honourable member for his question. It was an honour to open the 13th Asia Pacific Marine Biotechnology Conference (APMBC) and the fifth Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society Conference in Adelaide earlier this month, as well as representing the Premier and Deputy Premier in speaking at the conference dinner.

It was the first time that the APMBC has been held in the Australia-New Zealand region, whose marine territories combined are the second largest in the world and the largest in the Asia-Pacific region. In hosting the event in Adelaide, it marked a real coup for South Australia and an acknowledgement of the incredible work that is happening in marine biotechnology in our state. The conference welcomed representatives from universities, institutions and industries right across the world, with delegates from China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, as well as further afield including the United States and Switzerland.

Importantly, the APMBC being held in Adelaide provided a fantastic opportunity for PIRSA and SARDI to network and engage with existing and new industry research partners, to develop projects that will produce novel marine bioproducts through the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which of course we are very proud to have based here in South Australia, with the state government investing $2.6 million over 10 years.

The economic assessment of the Australian marine bioproducts industry projects a gross value product of at least $2 billion by 2035, delivering opportunities to tap into global markets, develop advanced manufacturing and play a key role in sustainable priorities and emerging industries. A great example of the kind of developing sectors in this space is the seaweed industry. South Australia is positioning itself as a national leader with its natural abundance and ideal climate for growing various seaweed species and which through its anticipated growth is likely to contribute significantly to economic and social benefits in regional communities where, of course, much of the sector is based.

From all reports, the combined APMBC and Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society conferences were very successful and shone an important light on our state across the Asia-Pacific and further afield. We look forward to hopefully hosting the event again in the future and I would like to thank all of those behind the scenes, particularly at SARDI, who worked hard to make the event such a success.