By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Frank Seeley, the Australian impresario behind the Seeley International brand of evaporative coolers, has sent a rallying cry to the Australian appliance industry, saying that there is no point competing with China and India on price, with quality and innovation are the basis for continued growth.

In the wake of yesterday’s news that South Australian manufacturing is in decline, Seeley responded by saying that his eponymous brand has had a sales surge, which he attributes to the introduction of new products that meet a need, rather than just hit a price point.

“We’ve just had the strongest April sales figures in the company’s history and we’re rostering extra people to cope with the production demand,” Seeley said. ““We can’t compete on everything, particularly against low cost nations such as India and China, so we choose to focus on innovation, excellence and reliability.”

Seeley is also doing his bit for state pride, offering up some good-old-fashioned parochialism.

“South Australia also offers comparatively low cost industrial land, within easy reach of a skilled labour force, port and freight services, not to mention a fantastic lifestyle for all of our people.

“We also get support from our State Government, such as through grants and the facilitating of introductions to companies and markets which might otherwise be beyond our immediate reach.”

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Although Ayn Rand wouldn’t approve of government subsidies, she would appreciate Seeley’s commitment to innovation of new products rather than the ‘me-too’ approach permeating the industry. For instance, Seeley channeled Atlas Shrugged protagonist Henry Reardon when discussing why his confidence in South Australian manufacturing is unshakable.

“Our commitment to consistently producing the best quality products on the market, as well as developing new innovations like our revolutionary Climate Wizard, is guaranteeing our continued growth into the future.”

Meanwhile, in a very anti-objectivist move, Seeley International has committed at least $250,000 over three years in support of the Leukaemia Foundation.

“The support of the corporate sector to the not-for-profit sector is well known, but it could be tempting in less certain economic times, for companies to adopt a more cautious philanthropic effort,” said Leukaemia Foundation CEO Peter Cox. “We congratulate Mr Frank Seeley and his team for taking a long-term view of corporate citizenship.”