Modern manufacturing strategy fundamental to lifting economic performance

“Ai Group welcomes today’s release of the Federal Government’s modern manufacturing strategy as part of a determined effort to rebuild and reshape our economy to underpin the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. A strong, vibrant and diverse manufacturing sector is crucial to our national prosperity,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“It is gratifying that the Federal Government has clearly recognised the role of manufacturing in the economy and committed to creating the right conditions for industry growth through policy areas such as taxation, skills and training development, energy, innovation and deregulation.

“These are central to developing ‘smart sovereignty’; a broad-based lift in economic performance; the widespread creation of challenging and sought-after jobs; and of dynamic Australian industries. Nothing could be more important for building economic resilience than a diverse economy that capitalises on the full range of our strengths – from wherever they arise.

“Specifically in today’s announcement we applaud the recognition of and the commitment to building competitive manufacturing capabilities and building greater resilience into our supply chains. These capabilities, including those related to better supply-chain risk mitigation, have central roles to play as we rebuild the economy and uncover new areas of strength.

“There is considerable merit in backing business success in the six areas identified in Government’s plan. There are clear opportunities in these areas and indeed in many of them, Australia already has plenty of runs on the board. The investment support in the six areas will boost investment, greater scale for businesses and sectors and job creation and we are keen to participate further in developing these measures.

“The importance of Defence and Space in this announcement reflects a welcome emphasis on sectors that underpin both our national security and provide very welcome economic strengthening.

“The waste sector is rapidly emerging as a key area of industrial capability and in both food and beverages and in medical goods and equipment, Australia has a range of world-leading capabilities. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us we have more to do in developing capabilities in those sectors.

“However, these priority areas should not be to the exclusion of the development of other parts of manufacturing or of industry more generally. We caution against tilting the playing field against industries that have not been identified to date. Industrial success is full of surprises and it is critical that we do not disadvantage businesses from succeeding outside the selected areas.

“Expanding our industrial capabilities will ensure we have more successful Australian exports of high value innovative products in our areas of natural advantage. One key will be building alliances and connections with universities and research institutions.

“It is also critical that we retain and indeed improve incentives to invest and create jobs in other parts of the economy and we look to next week’s Federal Budget for more initiatives to this end,” Mr Willox said.

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