video-banner
none

Industry back on track as employment figures rise

31-08-2010
by 
in 

 

Bill Shorten … ‘resilience’

The death of manufacturing in Australia has been vastly exaggerated, according to latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Surprisingly, the number of Australians employed in the manufacturing industry has increased in the past year. This is despite recent company downsizing and closures as well as steel and auto industry retrenchments.

The strongest growth has been in Victoria, where 10,000 full-time manufacturing jobs were created in the past year.

There are now 308,200 Victorians in manufacturing jobs compared with 295,100 at the same time last year. Full-time jobs have gone from 248,000 to 258,000.

In total, about 962,000 people were counted by the ABS as working in manufacturing in Australia – up 1 per cent over the previous quarter.

This means manufacturing now accounts for just over 8 per cent of the workforce.

The latest figures have defied expert predictions that the industry would continue to shed jobs over the next five years.

Manufacturing lost 106,775 jobs in the last four years (2007-08 to 2011-2012) and the Commonwealth projects another 85,600 jobs may be lost in the next five years.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten says the recent jump in manufacturing jobs, although small, signals a resilience in the sector.

“Australia is still doing better in the global rankings than most other countries around the world,” he said in reference to the latest ABS employment figures.

Mr Shorten said Australia remains “a nation that makes things” including high-tech and manufacturing and textiles and clothing.

Manufacturing is an integral part of the Australian economy. Last year, manufacturing contributed about $106 billion to the economy. 

Manufacturing also accounts for more than 25 per cent of all business expenditure in R&D, with over $4 billion invested in research and development.

The federal government has acknowledged the importance of the manufacturing sector to Australia’s economy.

Its future remains important for at least two reasons: first, manufacturing drives innovation and technological change – key elements of our productivity performance – and second it contributes to our external trade balance.

Without a solid manufacturing base, Australia faces the prospect of losing scientific, engineering and computing expertise that has taken generations to nurture in research and production.

The Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce Report noted: “A dynamic and thriving Australian manufacturing sector is critical to the long-term health of the economy and the nation.

“Australia needs to prepare and position for a new Asia, one that is generating both new knowledge and new demands at a rapid pace.

“All stakeholders need to lift our sights, expectations and aspirations – both for how the world sees Australia and for how we see ourselves.”

The report also noted: “Australia’s manufacturing businesses now deliver solutions, not just products. It is at the frontline of efforts to develop new skills and apply new technologies that the wider economy would not have without it.”

Related news & editorials

  1. 10.10.2019
    10.10.2019
    by      In
    The Energy Efficiency Council and Sustainability Victoria have unveiled a programme of joint free-to-attend energy management workshops that will run across both days of the inaugural Energy Efficiency Expo (23rd and 24th October at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre).
    Running... Read More
  2. 10.10.2019
    10.10.2019
    by      In
    Industry Update is expanding its video production portfolio with a new series of documentary videos, initially looking at some of the key safety issues affecting our industry.
    In the first two-part mini-series we’ve turned our attention to the key topic of workplace traffic management – looking at... Read More
  3. 08.10.2019
    08.10.2019
    by      In
    A vineyard drip-tube recycling programme in South Australia is proving the viability of the circular economy for an increasingly sustainable wine industry.
    The programme has recycled 1500km of drip tube this year, yielding 110 tonnes of resin that has been turned into irrigation pipe and plastic-... Read More
  4. 04.10.2019
    04.10.2019
    by      In
    A fully compostable shrink wrap for cucumbers has been developed in South Australia and is set to be launched on international markets.
    The compostable wrap is manufactured by BioBag World Australia and took 12 months to develop in partnership with South Australian produce and packaging businesses... Read More