In a world that has been shaken and changed by COVID-19, Australians are understandably concerned about where to from here.

However, history has shown that through adversity, greatness can be borne. As Australians, it’s something we know too well.

And so it is with Australian manufacturing. Our manufacturers have risen to the challenge to deliver during COVID-19 and now, we are unlocking their potential to deliver for our future.

There is no business as usual in the post-COVID-19 economy.

Tinkering at the edges on manufacturing policy is not an option. It has not worked in the past. Despite our world-class skills and incredible natural assets, manufacturing struggled to compete for decades. Well before COVID-19, the Morrison government began actively working to change this.

Now, driven by both imperative and opportunity, we are adopting a whole-of-government strategy that will see Australian manufacturers scale-up, become more competitive and more resilient.

We are obviously concerned with the here and now, and have injected billions of dollars in this year’s budget to expand the instant asset write off, which will support thousands of businesses to invest – including our manufacturers.

This kind of investment will address the short-term recovery, creating jobs and boosting investment at a time that we need it.

However, our $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy builds on that with a focus on creating a meaningful shift in the sector beyond just the recovery.

The strategy outlines our plan for getting the economic conditions right, boosting the role of science and technology in industry and focusing on areas of advantage.

The centrepiece is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative which will see the government strategically invest in projects that help manufacturers to scale up and create jobs.

This money will and must be targeted. Australia has to start playing to our strengths if we’re going to create lasting change – strategically investing in areas of manufacturing where we know we have an edge and that can deliver the secure jobs we need into the future.

Our six National Manufacturing Priorities are Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing, Food and Beverage, Medical Products, Recycling and Clean Energy, Defence, and Space.

Evidence has shown that Australia either has a comparative advantage, an emerging opportunity or strategic interest in those sectors.

This is the kind of laser focus we need to create jobs and foster the successful environment for manufacturing to flourish more broadly.

We’re also addressing supply chain issues highlighted during COVID-19, with $107 million to determine the materials, equipment and services Australia needs – and then work with industry to deliver the solutions. 

Australians instinctively know that a strong, successful manufacturing sector makes for a stronger country.

The world knows too, that when Australians promise, we deliver. We are recognised for our reliability, our ingenuity and our quality products. Now in a disrupted global economy we have the opportunity to grow that reputation.

By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and harnessing our world-class science and research, we can open up new markets and take more of our quality products to the world. Making us more prosperous.

By fundamentally addressing supply chain issues, not just plugging gaps, we can build resilience and enhance our ability to deal with challenges in the future. Making us more secure.

And by doing it all in a targeted, strategic way, we can create high-paid, lasting jobs – not just for this recovery, but for generations to come. Making our future brighter.

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