Visy’s Anthony Pratt has hosted Prime Minister Scott Morrison and US President Donald Trump at the opening of his new Pratt Industries paper recycling mill in Ohio.
Pratt, Australia’s richest man – and a supporter of both Trump and Morrison – gave the two leaders a tour of the Wapakoneta plant, which he said would not have been built without Trump’s election in 2016 and the subsequent tax breaks offered to companies looking to invest in the US.
“We’ve redoubled down on our investment in America. And with the construction of this plant, we will have as a result of that, 9000 American manufacturing jobs in the United States, and we're very proud of that,” he said.
Morrison praised Pratt, who now has 70 factories across 27 American states, for keeping his promise to invest.
“Anthony is a wonderful Australian who has taken a good company to a great company. You might say a company as strong as steel to a company as strong as titanium, Mr President.
“This is a great Australian who is building an even greater company, and a company that is investing both in the United States and, of course, in Australia,” he said.
Trump also lavished compliments on Pratt and Morrison for the ties between Australia and the United States.
“I want to thank you, Anthony, for everything you’ve done and Pratt Industries. What a great investment. He is definitely a man of his word. He said, ‘I’d do it.’ And he did it. And he’s going to do more.
“Every year, you will recycle discarded paper into 400,000 tons of high-quality new paper and more than 300 million boxes — all without cutting down a single tree. Not a single tree comes down.
“Here in Ohio, we see the shining example of the wonderful future we can build together — a future where proud, independent nations uplift each other and the world by uplifting their own citizens. A future where our families are prospering, our communities are thriving like never before, our economies are booming, our confidence is soaring, our citizens are proud, and our nations are greater than ever before,” said Trump.
Not everyone was happy with the Prime Minister’s decision to visit the plant opening, with federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale slamming Morrison for going to the plant owned by Pratt, a major donor to the Liberal Party, instead of to the UN climate change conference in New York.
”We are in a climate emergency and yet the Prime Minister is more interested in rewarding his donors than action to save the planet.
“Unless Scott Morrison is expecting to find his Government’s missing climate change policy in one of those cardboard boxes, he should be at the United Nations working with other world leaders on a genuine solution to the climate crisis,” he said.
Construction started in March last year and the paper mill is expected to come online in October, with corrugated box production beginning in January. Pratt Industries’ revenue has topped US$3bn, and is still growing.