Twenty-four Illawarra textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) workers have lost their jobs following Fairy Meadow’s Poppets Schoolwear closing its doors.
The manufacturer went into administration after owing $395,000 in unsecured liabilities and $467,000 in employee entitlements, according to a report from the Illawarra Mercury.
Poppets owner Elizabeth Kingston told the Mercury that cheap Asian imports and the high Australian dollar forced the school-clothing manufacturer out.
"My husband and I put in so much money to keep this going, but it got to the stage where I didn’t know where the next cent was coming from to pay people’s wages," Kingston said in an interview with the newspaper.
"So many companies are hurting at the moment. Business is not easy at this time.”
Australian TCF manufacturing has been under immense pressure from globalisation over the past 10 years, with large corporations and family-owned companies closing down due to stiff international competition.
TCF manufacturing in Australia is now dominated by higher-end, niche companies demanding higher prices from consumers. Products with high IP – such as those using sustainable materials and those destined for the defence market – also remain.
Just this month, 1,000 jobs were lost as manufacturer Colorado closed-down, taking with it well-known Aussie brands Diana Ferrari, JAG, Mathers and Williams.
In May, Myer announced it would double its outsourcing to China to $200 million by 2016.
The Australian government is doing its best to help-out through the TCF Strategic Capability Program, a five-year, $35 million investment to help manufacturers become more globally-competitive and sustainable.
Over 60 companies received a share of $2.5 million this month, including a bridal-wear company and a street fashion manufacturer. The former will use the money to install a new pattern-making system, and the latter will purchase a new financial reporting program.
Go to www.ausindustry.com.au to apply for the government’s TCF grant.
Image from Comerce.com