Manufacturers need recognition as essential infrastructure

Comment by Peter Roberts

Globally, proactive governments are looking to their manufacturing sectors to help them navigate the Covid-19 pandemic, raising questions about when Canberra is going to afford similar recognition.

Last week Canberra belatedly reached out to manufacturers with a ‘çall for information‘ from producers of essential medical supplies.

Defence personnel have also been working with mask manufacturer Med-Con to boost output.

But this isn’t nearly enough – the United States is way ahead of us designating numerous companies – including Australian companies manufacturing in the US – as essential services.

On Thursday @AuManufacturing reported that shipbuilder Austal’s Alabama shipyard had been designated as mission essential by the defence department during the fight against the virus.

Now multi-national Australian packaging machinery manufacturer tna solutions and all its US employees have been recognised by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Because of its role in the country’s food supply chain, tna has been declared as ‘essential critical infrastructure’.

The company went to social media to say: “tna solutions is proud to be designated as a critical infrastructure supplier to the food industry during this time.

“Customers globally can rest assured that tna is with them at every point and can always find 24/7 support from one of tna’s 8 global helpdesks.

Manufacturing has been the also-ran of Australian public policy for far too long.

Now companies are gearing up production of essential supplies such as ventilators and sanitisers.

Others are simply continuing to do their job turning out everything from food to toilet paper.

There are heroic efforts underway in industry from the individuals in supply chains sourcing mask fabric for overseas, to ResMed making ventilators in Sydney and San Remo in Adelaide running hard to produce more and more pasta.

Isn’t it about time for Canberra to recognise our own, great Australian manufacturers as essential to the fight to beat Covid-19 and regain our Australian way of life?

Picture: TNA/intelli-flav OMS 5.1 food seasoning system

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