French connection cashes in on Victoria’s building boom – Sydney Morning Herald


Christophe Penot, France’s ambassador, says the French connection went to the next level after his country’s Naval Group clinched a key role in Australia’s $50 billion future submarine project in 2016.

“There is a very general trend that has developed with the submarine contract that Australia is much more on the radar screen in Europe in general but in France in particular,” Mr Penot said

“So we have more and more companies coming here to do business and in this context Melbourne has been a very attractive destination.

“This is due to the policy of the government of Victoria, a business friendly environment, the quality of Melbourne, the most liveable city on earth, a lot of cultural life, a lot of things to offer ex-pats.

“But this is also due to the huge infrastructure program that is developing in Melbourne and infrastructure is one of our specialties.”

Mr Penot took in a visit this week to one of the construction sites of Melbourne’s massive Metro Tunnel where another French firm, Bouygues Construction, is working as part of a consortium on the huge tunnelling effort.

At a French-Australian Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday morning, Economic Development Minister Tim Pallas announced that the two latest French additions, VISEO and Total Eren will create 65 new jobs by setting up their local headquarters in Melbourne.

Energy outfit Total Eren is developing the Kiamal solar farm, the state’s biggest, outside Ouyen in Victoria’s north-east while tech company VISEO designs and builds IT products as well as digital project management.

Total Eren Asia-Pacific director Michael Vawser said Melbourne offered a lot of advantages to European companies expanding into the Pacific region.

“We chose Melbourne for our headquarters for many reasons, including proximity to all major banking and finance corporations, access to a highly educated and talented workforce, and its diverse and exciting culture,” Mr Vawser said.

Noel Towell is State Political Editor for The Age

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