Industry minister hints at activist post-Covid industry policy

Industry minister Karen Andrews has has again hinted that the federal coalition, once a staunch opponent of government intervention in the market, is preparing a more activist industry policy.

She told Chris Smith on 2GB radio on Sunday: “What the coronavirus has proven to us is that it’s wrong for us to be totally reliant, or even reliant to a whole large extent on supply chains…from overseas.

“So it is a problem for us, it’s something that we do need to address.”

Her statement comes as @AuManufacturing news launched a campaign to crowd source a new deal for manufacturing policy.

Andrews said it was important that Australia has sufficient stockpiles of imported essential products such as medicines, but also that domestic producers were able to pivot during crises to produce other necessities.

“Well I’m happy to have a look at where we have lost some manufacturing capacity.

“Now, we all know that automotive has been affected but also some some of the TCF – textile clothing and footwear industries have been affected…and a lot of manufacturing is offshore.

“That impacts on our capacity to produce some of the medical equipment that we need.”

Andrews said the government had to start looking at what Australia’s niche areas are, where we have demonstrated capability, and where we can build on that.

“So let’s be sensible about this.

“Let’s look at what our capacities are. Let’s look at what we need and start rebuilding the manufacturing capacity that we have.”

Picture: Karen Andrews

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