In a globalised economy driven by accelerating technological change and falling trade barriers, research and development and innovation are increasingly central to maintaining existing markets and opening up new ones.
This is particularly true for Australia's textile, clothing, footwear and leather sector which supplies a very diverse customer base with an equally wide range of products - from traditional fashion goods to the fast growing area of technical fabrics.
Underpinning the sector's growth in such key areas is a very strong focus on education, training and research in new materials and technologies, design and production processes.
This R&D push has made Australia a world leader in fibre and textile innovation from superfine wool blends and sun-safe fabrics to hi-tech materials - like the coating fabrics used on the surface of NASA's space shuttles.
Victoria is Australia's centre of excellence in textile and fibre technology, education and research. Our world class universities and research centres, like the CSIRO Centres of Excellence in Technical Textiles and Advanced Wool Products, drive innovation and generate major commercial applications for the national fibre and textile industry.
You can find out more about our research and innovation strengths through this Guide to textile and fibre research projects currently underway in Victoria. I am sure you will be as impressed as I am by the depth and diversity of the activities covered in the Guide, and excited by the many great opportunities this groundbreaking work offers for developing new alliances and applications with researchers and industry worldwide.
Rob Hulls MP
Minister for Manufacturing Industry