“Ai Group commends the Queensland Government’s release of a clear and systematic response to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the State’s manufacturing industry and welcomes its commitment to implement most of Commission’s recommendations,” Ai Group Queensland Head, Shane Rodgers, said today.
“While most of the Government response involves iterations of current programs and policies rather than fresh initiatives, there is little doubt that the Government is serious in its desire to boost manufacturing in the State.
“This was demonstrated with the re-instatement of Manufacturing as a distinct portfolio area under State Development Minister Cameron Dick.
“The commitment to continue well-targeted support – particularly the Advance Queensland, Made in Queensland and local procurement initiatives – sends a good signal.
“The Government’s response highlights the volume and complexity of available industry support programs, and the fact that they are spread across so many departmental silos.
“Industry and government need to work together to increase the awareness of these programs and ensure they are constantly reviewed and improved to have the desired result.
“Small businesses in particular are already drowning in a sea of complicated red tape. Government support initiatives need to be simple for these businesses to understand and access.
“Similarly, despite the best intentions, there is still a long way to go before many Queensland small businesses will feel they can genuinely tender for big contracts. In a state dominated by small business, we need procurement processes that are transparent, realistic and uncluttered by jargon.
“Ultimately the success of manufacturing in this state will rest on the prevailing economic and fiscal conditions.
“In this context we are disappointed that the Government has again side-stepped the issue of genuine tax reform to boost the conditions for strong industry investment and employment growth. Policy settings need to be sensitive to the range of challenges facing businesses and hindering growth. In addition to taxation, these include rising energy costs, slow productivity growth, a high burden of regulation and significant emerging skills shortages.
“Our manufacturing sector also needs a strong Queensland international trade support program and recognition as a serious player in the Asia Pacific.
“Queensland manufacturers have a great opportunity to ride the wave of technological change that is sweeping global supply chains. The fundamentals of how things are made and where they are made are moving rapidly and we need the right skills, infrastructure and market links to capitalise on that,” Mr Rodgers said. —