The departing head of Australia's top plastics industry trade group said competition from low-cost Asian producers will continue to be one of the biggest challenges for Australia's plastics industry.
Michael Catchpole, chief executive officer of the Melbourne-based Plastics & Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA), will leave the group Dec. 7 after 3½ years in the job. Catchpole's new post will be CEO of another Melbourne-based industry representative group, the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy. He is being replaced by PACIA's industry development executive, Margaret Donnan.
Catchpole said significant trends in his time as head of PACIA include increased consolidation in the Australian industry and higher levels of competition, especially from low-cost producers in China and Southeast Asia.
``We have seen significant growth in recovery and recycling of plastics,'' he added.
Catchpole said the challenge for the Australian industry, in the face of increased competition, is to capitalize on opportunities for innovative products and specialized markets.
``The companies that have done well are those that have developed niche markets in Australia and in export markets,'' he said.