Australia’s manufacturing and farming sector will receive a much needed boost with the launch of Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program (AMFP).
The launch was attended by a wide range of businesses and industry associations to discuss the manufacturing and farming industry with the politicians and were encouraged by Victorian senator John Madigan, senator Nick Xenophon, and the Bob Katter from Queensland.
AUSVEG communications and public affairs manager William Churchill said the concerns of the country’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers were often set aside by decision makers, so it was great to see an attempt to remedy this situation.
“I commend Senator John Madigan for getting such an excellent initiative off the ground and acknowledge the support he has received from the Hon Bob Katter MP and Senator Nick Xenophon in reaching this point,” he said.
The AMFP being a non-partisan initiative is designed to highlight the critical roles of manufacturing and Farming industries in Australia’s development.
Churchill went on to say that “the current issue relating to the proposed importation of potentially diseased fresh potatoes from New Zealand is just one example where the Gillard Government is ignoring the concerns of industry. We hope that this program will improve communications between our growers and our political representatives in Canberra.”
“Senator Madigan announced his intention to establish a program of this type in his maiden speech as a newly elected member of the Senate. Today’s launch represents the fruition of these intentions and an exciting new era for the Australian horticulture industry, as well as for wider members of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.”
Among the manufacturers attending the launch, Keech Australia's director of sales and marketing, David Keech, said, “Australia’s manufacturing sector plays a critical role in our economic future. Yet many politicians don’t fully realise the important contribution that businesses like ours make to the regional job market and the Australian economy.”
Herbert Heremes, Keech chief executive officer added, “we’re competing against countries with very different cost structures and the manufacturing sector needs more freedom to work at a local level, directly with its employees, to encourage more flexibility.”
“Skilled migration is a further issue, given the fact that many graduate engineers are heading off to work in mining. We need the ability to quickly fill our professional skills gaps with overseas workers if locally trained professionals are unavailable,” he added.
The competition for cheap products from overseas has affected the manufacturing and farming in Australia and these industries are looking for their long awaited change with the launch of AMFP.
He hopes to see the change now and expect the support from the politicians for the development of these industries.
Heremes said the “Government needs to support manufacturing businesses investing in research and development by making it easier to foster closer working collaborations between government departments such as the CSIRO, as well as universities and other research organisations and private businesses such as ours.
"Being able to meet with politicians and have these discussions face-to-face is an important first step in reversing the decline in Australia’s manufacturing sector.”
Through AMFP the works towards boosting connections between the farming, manufacturing industry and the politicians. Though the successful outcome of this launch will only be measured on the basis of whether or not these concerns are recognised by the Gillard Government.