A paper recycling mill built by Australian billionaire businessman Anthony Pratt has been officially opened in Wapakoneta, Ohio by US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
At the opening Pratt, Australia’s richest man, said the plant would not exist if it weren’t for the election of Trump, who pledged in the run up to the election to issue tax credits and reductions for companies looking to invest onshore in the US.
“We would not have invested in this plant if it wasn’t for President Trump’s election,” Pratt told reporters at the opening.
“He has given us a tremendous faith in investing in America and we have redoubled down on our investment in America. With the construction of this plant we will have 9,000 American manufacturing jobs in the United States.”
Pratt also applauded Morrison for being the “Don Bradman of Australian job creation” as the trio walked the floor of the new billion dollar facility which employs hundreds of local workers.
Trump could not speak highly enough of the United States’ relationship with Australia as a whole, and Pratt Industries, a sister company to Australian recycling powerhouse Visy Industries, based in Melbourne.
“We are here to celebrate a great opening and a great gentleman from Australia, Anthony Pratt and most importantly we have to say another great Australian, we had a fantastic evening the other night in honour of Australia and this is the great prime minister Scott Morrison,” Trump told reporters, speaking of the earlier state dinner organised in honour of Morrison’s visit.
“Anthony is one of the most successful men in the world perhaps Australia’s most successful man. He will be investing anywhere between five and 10 billion dollars in the United States and this is one of his great plants.”
Morrison joined Trump in making an official address at the opening and said Pratt, like all Australians, had kept his promise in building the plant following the election of Trump in 2016.
“To Anthony Pratt and the whole Pratt Enterprises here well done on a fabulous investment,” Morrison said.
“We’ve got Wagga Wagga, Wollongong, Wallerawang, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wooloomooloo so Wapakoneta fits right in. This is a bit of Australia right here in Ohio.”
Morrison also pointed to the low unemployment rate in Ohio, the birthplace of Neil Armstrong, and said this relates to the investment that has taken place in industry.
“The reason that is happening is because people are investing in policies that are seeing the economy grow and that is what Anthony is doing right here in Ohio. 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,” Morrison said.
“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. Twenty seven states he now is in, 70 factories, but the thing about Anthony that is true of all Australians is we keep our promises.
“When we make a promise we keep it. When we make a promise to be in an alliance, we keep that promise and Anthony promised that he would invest in the United States with the election of the president and the jobs that are here because this man keeps his promise.”
Each year the plant is forecast to recycle discarded paper into 400,000 tonnes of high quality new paper and more than 300 million boxes all requiring a single tree.
The visit by Morrison to the Pratt Industries facility has not gone unnoticed by those asking why he opted out of the United Nations Climate Summit, which was instead attended by foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne.
Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said Morrison’s attendance at the opening of the recycling mill, and not at the climate summit, shows he is out of touch with millions of Australians who want genuine action on climate change.
“Millions of people are taking to the streets to demand that our political leaders take serious action on climate change. But instead of listening to their voices and attending a landmark UN Climate Summit today, Scott Morrison has chosen to open a box factory in Ohio owned by a billionaire political donor to the Liberal Party,” said Di Natale.
”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.”
Picture credit: Pratt Industries chairman Anthony Pratt, US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the opening of Pratt Industries new paper recycling mill in Ohio, USA. Photo credit: Anthony Pratt (see Instagram) on LinkedIn.
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