Federal government’s manufacturing jobs plan gets mixed reviews

Opinions are mixed on the federal government’s plan to support employment in local manufacturing, the Plan For Australian Jobs.

Opinions are mixed on the federal government’s plan to support employment in local manufacturing, the Plan For Australian Jobs.

The ABC reports that although blue-collar unions and certain industry groups have received the announcement – which will be overseen by an Australian Industry Participation Authority and which aims to encourage major projects to use local content – warmly, some in business have not.

“We don't sell directly to those sort of [projects],” the owner of medium-sized appliance components manufacturer Precimax, Peter McCall, told the ABC.

“Generally those sorts of projects but our customer's base may get a contract like in the plumbing or industrial switchware areas, so if that was the case then we would benefit from that.”

Paul O’Malley and Mark Adamson, CEOs at BlueScope Steel and Brickworks respectively, said that labour market flexibility and cheaper energy would do more to support employment in the sector.

“We’re not as flexible and we have increasing costs in Australia whereas they’ve got reducing energy costs in the US, which is incredibly important if you want to stimulate employment,” O’Malley told The Australian Financial Review.

Adamson also told that publication that, although supportive of the Plan, there were policy responses to the manufacturing sector’s troubles.

“Requiring multinationals to involve local manufacturers in tendering is a positive step but they will only win the work if they offer the best price and value,” he said.
“None of the measures address how Australian companies will close the considerable gap on their international competitors in this regard.”