Innovation, planning and skills development will ensure manufacturing has a bright future in the Australian economy, says a report to the Prime Minister?s Manufacturing Taskforce.
APESMA CEO Chris Walton said the Smarter Manufacturing for a Smarter Australia report showed that Australia’s manufacturing sector can continue to underpin a broad-based national economy.
The report, which was released last week by the non-government members of the taskforce, also highlighted the importance of Australia building its economic capacity beyond mining.
“This report shows that current global and cyclical challenges can be overcome as long as we take advantage of opportunities for innovation and investment,” Mr Walton said.
“Manufacturing employs a million Australians, generates billions of dollars in export income, and makes a huge contribution to Australian research and development.
“The sector has always provided jobs with good pay and conditions, career opportunities and skills development, now we need to focus our efforts to ensure that manufacturing remains strong.
“It is essential we continue to develop a sustainable and diverse economy with an innovative manufacturing sector playing an important role.”
Mr Walton welcomed the report’s focus on skills, training, research and innovation which are a vital part of achieving real productivity improvements.
It is hoped the Commonwealth Government will take up the recommendations of the report, which include:
• Starting a new national discussion between industry, unions and government about ‘Smarter Workplaces’ that focus on innovation in managerial and workforce skills and a new Smarter Australia Network linking businesses, research organisations and others;
• Improvements in research and information flow to encourage small and medium enterprises to innovate and to learn new skills;
• Improvement to the costs of doing business and new initiatives in transport, broadband, energy, regulation and taxation in order to ultimately improve productivity; and
• Fast-tracking the public and private investment pipeline with help for businesses, workers and communities to manage change, to overcome current challenges.