Australian manufacturing saved by a roundtable

Comment by Peter Roberts

Excuse my cynicism but a cynical government held a gabfest in Canberra this week that we are meant to believe shows their commitment to Australian manufacturing..

Industry reps, academics and others met with industry minister Karen Andrews with the outcome? Well bugger all.

Andrews said: “The roundtable discussed ways to enable the transformation of our traditional and emerging manufacturing industries, to build our competitive advantage and thrive in global markets and value chains.

“Improving take up of technology, developing the skills of our workforce, increasing our export focus and enhancing productivity were also key points of consideration.”

I would give you more details of the outcomes, but this is everything the government said about what was achieved.

Recent innovations in the field amount to a $160 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund and support for manufacturing exporters through $5 million for the Australian made campaign.

Well that should really change the fortunes of a sector that turns over more than $100 billion a year.

Unfortunately for Andrews credibility one of the ‘manufacturers’ at the roundtable was reportedly Ford, a company which actually does not manufacture in Australia.

This only reminds us that it was under this government’s watch that Australia threw away its car manufacturing industry.

Minister Andrews, if you want to do something for manufacturing, start by tackling the price of gas, which has tripled on the eastern seaboard in the six years since your government came to power.

And what has the Coalition in Canberra done about this? Given the gas industry a number of severe talking tos.

You might also like to do something substantial rather thank just talk about the banks, whose shonky business practices, including their absence when it comes to funding growing SME manufacturers, were laid bare by a royal commission.

Oh, and you might like to extend the thinking behind your government’s commendable encouragement of defence manufacturing to other sectors through similarly activist policy?

I can hardly wait for this week’s ‘discussions’ and ‘considerations’ to turn into action.

Picture: Karen Andrews

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