Manufacturing News

Government announces TCF review

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr announced on the weekend a comprehensive review of the Australian Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industries to be conducted by Professor Roy Green in consultation with an industry reference group.

Professor Green is the Dean of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

The Government will separately request that the Productivity Commission undertake modelling on economy-wide effects of future assistance options.

The Commission’s modelling will be released publicly to inform Professor Green’s examination of the industry, public debate, and the Government’s deliberations in this area. “Australia’s TCF industries have faced increasing competitive pressures over the last decade.

“Unfortunately, the previous Government did not respond to these challenges in any meaningful way. The Rudd Government is determined to work with the TCF sector to develop viable strategies for its long-term future.

“I expect the establishment of the review will provide renewed energy and enthusiasm across TCF industries,” Senator Carr said.

“The review will consult closely with all stakeholders in a thorough and considered way.

“Its task will be to develop practical and effective strategies to ensure Australia’s TCF industries will be vibrant, innovative and competitive well into the future.

“The TCF industries have an important role to play in Australia’s economic and social future. But the right policy settings must be put in place now.

“The review will take into account the changing nature of the industries in the TCF sector and assess their current performance and prospects.

“It will seek to ensure that TCF industries are able to take advantage of new technologies and new research and have the skills and strategies that are needed to compete in the global market place.”

Senator Carr said the issue of industry assistance will also be addressed.

“The appropriateness and effectiveness of assistance provided to the industry will be examined, as will the existing structural adjustment assistance measures.”

Professor Green will be supported by a reference group made up of Brian Rush – President of the Council of Textile and Fashion Industries Australia, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Defence Apparel; Phillip Butt – President of the Footwear Manufacturers’ Association of Australia, and Managing Director of J Robins & Sons; Professor Peter Forsyth – Department of Economics, Monash University; Rod McKenna – Chair of the Technical Textile and Nonwoven Association and Managing Director, TenCate Australia; Michelle O’Neil – Incoming National Secretary, TCF Union of Australia; Barry Tubner – National President, TCF Union of Australia; Dr Nigel Johnson – Chief, CSIRO Textile & Fibre Technology; and Professor Suzi Vaughan – Head of Fashion, Queensland University of Technology.

The TCF review will take place concurrently with the recently announced review of Australia’s national innovation system and will have regard to the issues raised in that review.

Sitting fees for reference group members will be set according to standard Remuneration Tribunal scales.

Senator Carr said Professor Green was a well known and well respected figure in industry policy and business management and he looked forward to receiving the Review’s final report by 31 August 2008.

Terms of Reference for the review are:

1. The Australian Government has commissioned Professor Roy Green to undertake a comprehensive review of the Australian textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industries.

2. This review is to be conducted within the context of a concurrent broad-ranging review of Australia’s national innovation system.

It is to take account of the Australian Government’s desire to:

a. ensure that there are no impediments to the TCF industries benefiting from new technologies and innovation;

b. foster globally competitive industries based on Australia’s strengths and capabilities; and

c. optimise the overall economic performance of the Australian economy.

3. The review will consult broadly among industry stakeholders and interested parties to examine and make recommendations in relation to:

a. the changing nature of the industries in the TCF sector and their current performance and prospects; b. the scope for the industry to take advantage of research and development, new technologies and innovation in textiles and design, to build on its existing strengths and move into new areas where the sector can be competitive;

c. the sector’s access to and use of government programs aimed at promoting innovation and productivity;

d. the future skills needs of the industries, current skill shortages and the availability and appropriateness of education, training and professional skills development opportunities within and for the sector;

e. the appropriateness and effectiveness of assistance provided through sector-specific assistance and trade measures, including current tariff rates and the reduction schedule;

f. any other issues that affect the competitiveness of the sector, including regulation, industry/research collaboration, and the need to address environmental challenges; and

g. the effectiveness of existing structural adjustment assistance in ensuring that:

i. the sector is able to take advantage of the future industry possibilities identified;

ii. an appropriate level of support is provided to better assist TCF workers to improve their English and language skills, engage in vocational education and training and find secure employment following redundancy; and

iii. regional impacts of structural change are appropriately addressed.

4. In examining these matters and making recommendations, the review will consider the broader economic environment and all issues affecting the sector, including:

a. the Australian TCF industries’ competitive strengths and weaknesses;

b. the impact of global and domestic economic developments on the TCF industries;

c. the likely social impact of significant further industry adjustment, including the impact on TCF workers, regional Australia and the broader community;

d. the international trading environment, and opportunities for access to global markets and supply chains; e. Australia’s existing international trade obligations and the implications for Australia’s current trade negotiations at the multilateral, regional and bilateral level;

f. the regulatory environment; and

g. the need to respond to the challenges of climate change and drought with environmentally sustainable practices.

5. The review is to present a final report to the Minister by 31 August 2008.

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