Manufacturing News

Calls to minimise job losses

Tasmania has reported a massive fall in the number of manufacturing jobs and is seeking government intervention to save the industry.

The state's manufacturing industry has lost 8,000 jobs in the past four years and is now down to 14,000 jobs, reports the ABC news.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has launched a national campaign to stem the industry's rapid decline.

The union wants government to bring forward infrastructure projects.

According to the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's chief economist, Phil Bayley, that is not a solution.

Bayley stated that the government intervention to boost manufacturing at the expense of other sectors is a form of industry protection.

"That has a higher cost to the community, it results in lower wages," Bayley explained.

He went on to say that "one of the issues with bringing forward infrastructure spending is that it costs money."

"If the business case isn't ready, then there's no investment to be brought forward and it has a greater cost to government when the services provided by that infrastructure aren't needed to be used," Bayley said.

State opposition leader Will Hodgman said the best thing the government can do is reduce the cost of doing business and show that Tasmania is investment-ready.

Hodgman said he would like to see, as a principle, government support to keep business open, not shut it down.

“I don't want to see business being bought or sold out like we're seeing in forestry.”

"If that starts happening in the manufacturing sector, then it's not good economic policy," Hodgman said.

The acting economic development minister, Scott Bacon said manufacturing is recovering, with $4.5 billion worth of private investment in the past year.

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