Election ’22 news briefs — priorities for the new government

Look to manufacturing to take us from lucky to smart

The new Albanese government has a real opportunity to engage with the Australian manufacturing industry at a critical juncture, according to the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. “Whether it is addressing climate change, food security, medical needs, or economic prosperity, manufacturing is the most promising capability we have to tackle all of these and help transform Australia from being a lucky country into a smart one,” said its Managing Director, Dr Jens Goennemann. Goennemann added that it was heartening to see the new government open to continuing the Growth Centre initiative, “after all and as far as manufacturing is concerned, it was originally a Labor policy – just under the term precincts.

“While it is too early to comment on any future Government initiatives involving AMGC, we look forward to engaging with the new Industry Minister to discuss how we can assist in growing local capability and generating high-paying, highly-skilled, resilient manufacturing jobs locally.”

Covid-19 has shown that public-private collaboration matters

Paul Perrault, CEO of CSL, told The Australian Financial Review that the pandemic has shown the necessity for private and public organisations to work together for health and economic outcomes. “It’s important that Australia can rise to meet the after-effects of the pandemic by being pandemic-ready with onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities, is a globally competitive destination to do business and is an attractive home to a thriving biotech and healthcare sector,” said Perrault.

“Now or never” for emissions cuts, developing enabling technology

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) has said there is a “critical window of opportunity” open to the new government position Australia as a technological powerhouse in decarbonisation, welcoming a 43 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as an improvement. However, “urgent and ambitious action” was needed on scaling renewable technologies and electric vehicles, and restoring the Climate Change Authority. “Australia has a window of opportunity to become a world leader in renewable energy generation, low and negative emission technologies – but that window is rapidly closing,” said Professor Hugh Bradlow, ATSE’s President, urging the incoming government to act now “and not squander our renewable technology advantage by implementing a comprehensive plan that transitions to a net-zero emissions economy, backed by regulation and incentives.”

Enable ‘future-critical deep tech industries’ to flourish

Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of tech incubator Cicada Innovations, has urged Albanese to outline a bold vision that the business, investment and research communities can align with. Williams wrote that Albanese must set a concrete goal and timeframe for specific breakthroughs (citing former US president John Kennedy’s declaration “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade”) as well as create something akin to the US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Further, according to Williams, the new government should strengthen national research infrastructure, reducing dependence on other countries’ scientific resources, and attract exceptional talent.

End climate wars, act on productivity

Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, has said business would cooperate with the new government on lifting productivity and cutting emissions. “The Government has a clear mandate to bring an end to the damaging ‘climate wars’ and to concentrate on giving coherence and momentum to the substantial transitions Australia must manage to reduce our greenhouse gas [e]missions to net zero. Willox said.

Strengthen the innovation ecosystem

Cooperative Research Australia (CRA) said the Albanese government has a real opportunity to transform Australia by leveraging the expertise in universities and industry-research initiatives such as the Growth Centres, Trailblazer universities, Cooperative Research Centres and other programs. “There is a real opportunity for the incoming [industry] Minister to bring together participants across the innovation ecosystem to foster better collaboration, cross-government and intergovernmental coordination of innovation and research,” said CRA CEO Jane O’Dwyer. “Stepping up that cross-fertilisation will improve Australia’s competitiveness as an innovation nation.”

Picture: Albanese on election night (credit: Rick Rycroft/AP)

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