Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
  • The Hon Mark Coulton, Assistant Trade and Investment Minister
03 December 2019

Australia’s top exporters have tonight been honoured for the significant contribution they make to our economy at the 57th Australian Export Awards in Canberra.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham congratulated Brisbane based company Populous for taking out the top award of 2019 Australian Exporter of the Year.

“Populous is a business with a world-renowned ability for designing iconic venues across the globe such as Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London and the Yankee Stadium in New York,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Populous is now one of the largest architectural firms in the world, generating around 80 per cent of its income from exports and this year has created 58 new jobs in Australia.

“This is an outstanding story of a company that over two decades through expanding into overseas markets has transformed into a powerhouse within its industry and is a standout example of our growing services sector.”

Minister Birmingham said this year’s awards recognise the enormous contribution exporters make to Australia with the 94 finalists employing over 34,000 Australians generating more than $7.8 billion in export sales.

“This year’s award winners are from the city, outback and bush, and span a range of sectors from businesses exporting designer mattresses, essential oils, aerospace parts, animation services and underwear,” Minister Birmingham said.

“There are some incredible business success stories amongst this year’s winners such as Koala who has transformed into one of Australia’s most successful online retailers and has now begun exporting their designer mattresses to Japan through to hall of fame inductee Animal Logic who is recognised as one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios.

“Exports create more Australian jobs and make a huge contribution to our economy. Businesses that export hire 23 per cent more staff, pay 11 per cent higher wages and have labour productivity that is 13 per cent higher than non-exporting firms.

“That’s why we continue to back our 53 000 exporters by providing more opportunities through expanding our network of free trade agreements.”

Minister for Regional Services and Assistant Trade and Investment Minister, Mark Coulton said recognising exporters was vital in building awareness around new market opportunities available to businesses across Australia, including those operating in regional areas.

“These businesses are generating new job opportunities, career growth and additional skills for people living outside of our capital cities, while also diversifying regional economies,” Minister Coulton said.

“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists. They exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation and I hope they can inspire thousands of other small businesses out there to become exporters,” Minister Birmingham said.

“I would also like to acknowledge Mulpha, the SPSG Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline and Sonnen Germany who received Minister’s Investment Awards in recognition of the positive contribution foreign direct investment makes to the economy in creating jobs and driving innovation.”

Full information on Winners and Finalists can be found at:

2019 Australian Export Award Winners

Australian Exporter of the Year and Professional Services Award Populous Brisbane (QLD)
Agribusiness Food and Beverages Award Essence Group Greenwich Sydney & Nowra (NSW)
Creative Industries Award Rising Sun Pictures Adelaide (SA)
E-commerce Award Swisse Wellness Melbourne (VIC)
Emerging Exporter Award Koala Alexandria Sydney (NSW)
International Education and Training Award The University of Adelaide Adelaide (SA)
International Health Award Leica Biosystems Mount Waverley Melbourne (VIC)
Manufacturing and Advanced Materials Award Marand Precision Engineering Moorabbin Melbourne (VIC)
Minerals Energy and Related Services Award Microbiogen Lane Cove Sydney (NSW)
Regional Exporter Award Care Essentials Geelong North (VIC)
Small Business Award Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils Osborne Park Perth (WA)
Sustainability Award Modibodi Balmain Sydney (NSW)
Technology and Innovation Award Seeing Machines Fyshwick Canberra (ACT)

Minister’s Investment Awards

Regional Investment Award Mulpha Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort (QLD)
Significant Investment Award SPSG Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline Northern Gas Pipeline, Tennant Creek (NT) and Mount Isa (QLD)
Research and Investment Award Sonnen Germany Holden Plant, Elizabeth (SA)