none
none

Aussie industry needs more than a weak dollar

31-08-2010
by 
in 
Aussie industry needs more than a weak dollar
The weakening Australian dollar has given the embattled manufacturing sector – particularly exporters – some much-needed respite.
 
The dollar is now hovering around US.92c – its lowest level in nearly three years. But while many manufacturers have collectively blown a huge sigh of relief – there are still many challenges ahead.
 
Australia remains a high cost country and struggles to compete with its low cost Asian neighbours.
 
Ford’s decision to close its Australian manufacturing plants rams home this point.
 
When announcing the decision Ford president Bob Graziano said: "Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia."
 
In other words, manufacturing Ford vehicles in Australia is not a viable option.
 
It’s not just the strong Australian dollar that has put pressure on the sector.
 
Manufacturing is being strangled by government red tape and regulatory duplication.
 
Businesses are struggling to cope with high costs, including rising unit labour costs and steeply rising energy costs.
 
All of these issues have reduced the competitiveness of Australian companies.
 
If that’s not enough, a recent AiGroup survey of 330 small business owners found that IR reform is their biggest concern.
 
Almost a quarter (23.1 percent) said more flexible IR policies would greatly assist in boosting productivity.
 
Recent changes to the Fair Work Act have made it increasingly difficult for business to operate effectively.
 
Unions bitterly complained that the Howard Government’s controversial
 
Work Choices laws were slanted strongly in favour of employers.
 
Under the Gillard/Rudd Labor government, following strong union pressure, the pendulum has swung back in favour of the worker– much to the
detriment of many small businesses.
 
The AiGroup now rightly argues that urgent changes are now needed in a number of key areas to provide greater flexibility to employers and to “rebalance” the current “excessive weight” given to union interests.
 
Manufacturers are now looking for genuine commitment and action in this area from the next government.
 
The future of Australia’s manufacturing sector depends on it.

Related news & editorials

  1. Laurence MarchiniLEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD FOR AUSTRALIAN STEEL  Last week’s long awaited report from the Senate Economics References Committee into the Australian steel industry has much to say about the problems facing the industry. But does it have any practical strategies that the current Government is likely to implement?  The report includes no fewer than 28 recommendations, but an alarming number of these are that the Government should reconsider its responses to the report from the Joint Standing
    06.12.2017
    06.12.2017
    by      In
    Last week’s long awaited report from the Senate Economics References Committee into the Australian steel industry has much to say about the problems facing the industry. But does it have any practical strategies that the current Government is likely to implement?
    The report includes no fewer than... Read More
  2. 14.11.2017
    14.11.2017
    by      In
    Perhaps it’s just a sign of the times. But in 1962 in the UK when my Father bought me my first model railway he went to a local shop and bought a British-made Tri-ang train set.
    Were that to have happened today, perhaps he would have gone online, found the best price and ordered me a train set from... Read More
  3. Laurence Marchini
    23.10.2017
    23.10.2017
    by      In
    Was it product diversity that really killed the Australian automotive assembly industry? Changing tastes, changing economies and an ever-greater choice of vehicles have all played their role.
    Nobody can dispute that there are many more different makes and models available now than there were even... Read More
  4. Laurence Marchini
    16.10.2017
    16.10.2017
    by      In
    When the initial announcements were made of the impending closures of the Toyota and Holden vehicle assembly operations in Victoria and South Australia, there were some pretty dire predictions made about the full implications.
    In addition to the widespread layoffs at the carmakers themselves, there... Read More