Statistically speaking, in sport the host team generally has the advantage over the visiting squad.
The psychological impact and benefits related to being familiar and connected to the location, having local supporters and not needing to travel can all contribute to a competitive advantage.
Likewise, there is no doubt that Australia has a unique advantage this year by hosting the G20 Summit on home soil.
For the sake of Australian industry, manufacturers and exporters, I hope we don’t take our eyes off the ball over the coming months.
When it was announced that the G20 will be taking place in Australia, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “Hosting G20 in 2014 provides an invaluable opportunity for Australia to influence the global economic agenda.” Indeed, the G20 presidency puts Australia on the centre stage and it is a one in 20-year opportunity to showcase our capabilities to the rest of the world and strengthen engagement with global economies.
The G20 Summit will be held in Brisbane in November, and up to 4,000 delegates and 2,500 media representatives are expected to attend. All eyes are on the G20 group of 19 countries plus the European Union and their consultation of critical issues relating to international finance and economic policy.
These powerhouse political representatives are the world’s most influential decision makers and account for almost 90 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of international global trade and 64 percent of the world’s population.
As the host country, the performance of our Australian representatives has never been more visible. And there has never been a more opportune time for our leaders to take centre stage to ensure that Australia’s voice is heard on maters critical to our economic prosperity.
Indeed, a productive manufacturing sector is a fundamental component to a thriving economy, but we have been witnessing a steady decline and over the past six years more than 100,000 Australian manufacturing jobs have been lost.
Local industry is facing increasing pressure due to high operating costs and competition from technologically advanced export focused nations such as China and India and we need to work together to reverse the loss of jobs and skillsets by offering the same support that is so readily available outside of Australia. The G20 is the perfect platform to take a bold step and get policies on the table that can ensure a level playing field.
It is pleasing that some of our leaders are already urging the G20 group to put more emphasis on boosting global trade in their proposals for economic growth. Heather Smith, one of Australia’s most senior G20 officials said: “We would like to see more trade and employment measures … it is about removing domestic barriers that will help facilitate trade.”
But it is important they don’t forget this message as we come to the business end of the G20 Presidency in Brisbane. We as local industry leaders, exporters and manufacturers have a responsibility to continue to engage our political and industry representatives, and tell them what we need so that the message is communicated at the top.
Professor John Kirton, from the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto: says that all eyes will be on Australia: "As history unfolds around the world, people will not just know the word Brisbane – the Brisbane summit - but they will know Brisbane for the particular good it did for the world on that specific thing."
Therefore the G20 truly presents an opportunity to create a legacy for Australian industry and ensure an open and exclusive export regime that will support and retain Australian skillsets and jobs for generations to come.
If we don’t utilise the homeground advantage to its full potential in the coming months, we will have a full 20 years to ponder what could have been had we played right to the whistle. And who knows what state our industries will be in by then.
* Barry Thomas is the Vice President and APAC Managing Director of Cook Medical Australia. Barry has more than two decades of international leadership and expertise in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and he currently spearheads the world’s fastest growing region for Cook Medical. His current position sees him working to expand the opportunities for people in Asia to access Cook Medical’s advanced and minimally invasive medical devices.