CHEMICAL engineer Andrew Liveris, former CEO of Dow Chemical, has joined a commission established by the Australian Government to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on jobs and business.
The eight-member commission is advising the Prime Minister on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response, including resolving supply shortages and manufacturing essential products. Liveris’ focus is to identify opportunities for growth in manufacturing once the country begins to recover from the pandemic.
Liveris has previously pushed for Australia to add value to its wealth of natural resources rather than export them unrefined.
“Petrochemicals should be a no-brainer for this country,” he told The Australian following his appointment to the commission. “We have all the raw materials for it. And it is a job multiplier. For every one job in terms of energy input, you can get an output of eight jobs in the industry.”
He added that Australia should seek to become “the number one food exporter in the world” by marrying its fresh food industry with its expertise in paper and plastic packaging.
The National Covid-19 Coordination Commission is chaired by Neville Power, former CEO of Fortescue Metals.
Commenting on the launch of the commission, Power said: “Where there is a workforce that is no longer gainfully employed, we want to find a place where that workforce is needed. Where there is idle equipment, we want to find a way to repurpose it and where we have capacity in our supply chains we want to make sure it is fully utilised.”
“We want to bring hope for the future because once the virus is under control, we need to be well positioned to restore people’s lives and jobs as quickly as possible.”
Other members of the commission include Catherine Tanna, Managing Director of power firm EnergyAustralia, and David Thodley, Chair of Australia’s national scientific research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
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