Features, Manufacturing Experts, SEMMA

Governments must drive SME business costs down through Future Made Act

SEMMA is concerned that the recent announcement by the Federal Government’s new “Future Made in Australia Act” will effect SMEs in the manufacturing sector as it believes the Act may not address the industry’s critical needs and concerns.

A Word From Honi Walker, CEO SEMMA

While the intention is noble, SEMMA believes it will fail if the Albanese Government does not consult SME manufacturers in Southeast Victoria – Australia’s largest manufacturing hub.

SEMMA believes that if it focuses on large businesses and on developing the renewables sector, it will be to the detriment of SME manufacturers that have underwritten and contributed $36b annually to Australia’s economy.

While Albanese says, “Our Government is investing in manufacturing to make more things here. But the preparation for what comes next, has to start now. This means looking at how government procurement can support small business and local manufacturing, as well as sustainability and the circular economy. We are open to all good ideas – from business, from industry, from unions, from state and local government and from across the Parliament.”

SEMMA is yet to learn of how we can provide some ‘good ideas’ to the Prime Minister and his cohort including Ed Husic, Minister for Industry.

Albanese went on to say that, “A decade where businesses investing in the future – from embracing renewable energy to promoting gender equality – were acting in spite of government, not in concert with it. We know the high price of the last decade: low productivity growth, low business investment and a narrowing of our economic foundations. Albanese himself said, “We cannot afford another decade where government is a drag on business investment and productivity instead of a driver of it.”

SEMMA supports this comment, however as the Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has put it – “Australia’s economy is not productive enough, not resilient enough and not competitive enough.”

SEMMA disputes that comment, if not for business and manufacturing continuing to produce goods for the local and global economy – even during the pandemic in Victoria and Australia, our economy would be dead. Government needs to reduce costs and reduce red tape for manufacturing for us to be even more competitive and resilient and to ensure our sovereign capabilities. As Albanese said above, “In spite of government, businesses invested in the future.”

SEMMA hopes that the Prime Minister and indeed the Treasurer understands the crippling costs of doing business in Victoria – namely the recent increase in Workcover Premiums designed to cover the cost of mental health claims by the public service sector – not the majority of manufacturers who have not made a claim for years and the recent crippling increases in land tax.

This land tax will force local businesses to close, to move interstate and will ensure they do not hire new apprentices or immigrants and the like. Victorian business will have to carry the cost – yet again, of a government that has failed to manage its finances.

SEMMA is advocating for SME’s calling for an exemption for value-add manufacturers who continued to provide essential products and services during the pandemic.

True future proofing manufacturing must include exemptions, tax exclusions and energy supply assurances and the like for manufacturers.

SEMMA is calling on the Albanese government to step in to stop these land taxes on local value-add manufacturers and ensure energy supply for base load manufacturing success if we are to have a Future Made in Australia.

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