PM may launch inquiry into manufacturing industry


Prime Minister Julia Gillard is considering an inquiry into the state of Australian manufacturing after meeting with unions and a major employers' group.

The talks came after last week's announcement that BlueScope Steel was shedding 1000 workers as a result of a high Australian dollar hurting its export sector, while at the other extreme BHP Billiton secured a record profit.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said the meeting was 'positive and constructive'.

“Participants agreed to work together to improve the capability of Australian firms to benefit from the mining boom and to further improve their international competitiveness,” he said.

Ms Gillard and Industry Minister Kim Carr met with the Australia Industry Group (Ai Group) and the national secretaries of the Australian Workers Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Paul Howes and Dave Oliver, respectively, in Canberra on Monday.

Mr Oliver said the prime minister was considering an inquiry into manufacturing and that he was hoping for one similar to the car industry review of two years ago.

“That short, sharp inquiry came out with some significant recommendations which I know have secured the future of the automotive industry in the country,” Mr Oliver told reporters after the meeting.

He said they went to the prime minister with three key objectives.

They sought to find ways to maximise benefits from the mining boom to increase the content of Australian manufactured goods in mining projects, to expand financing for local manufacturers for investment in clean technology, and to boost productivity.

Mr Howes said it was 'time for action' so that Australia would still have a diversified economy when the mining boom ended and the nation hit the 'bottom of the quarry'.

Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said there was an understanding that decisions needed to be made sooner rather than later and a commitment made to ongoing engagement.

“We need a longer-term strategy for manufacturing that focuses on its positive future,” Ms Ridout said in a statement.

Related news & editorials

  1. handles
    by      In , In
    DIRAK L and T hygiene handles with or without cylinder key locking mechanism, are now available ex-stock from hardware specialists FDB Panel Fittings.
    They are designed for use in hygiene areas in food, pharmaceutical and related areas, where it is important to manage and minimise the accumulation... Read More
  2. 25.05.2021
    by      In
    In many automated processes, humans operate and monitor equipment via HMIs or human machine interfaces. An ATM is an example of an HMI. The Turck TX700 series is another example.
    Turck’s TX700 series stands out due to its versatility. With drivers for easy integration to all major PLCs, it can be... Read More
  3. hopper
    by      In , In , In
    For more than 40 years, Victorian-based Enmin has been building custom vibratory and material handling solutions for myriad applications and environments. 
    The company’s vast knowledge and expertise in this area has seen its list of customers grow to include most of Australia’s leading food... Read More
  4. worker
    by      In , In , In
    A $325,000 government grant has helped regional Victoria’s largest co-packing business increase its productivity through the introduction of an innovative product line and new automated equipment. 
    The grant, from the Agriculture Workforce Plan, has also enabled the Australian Disability Enterprise... Read More