Manufacturing Precinct board holds first meeting

The board of the Manufacturing Precinct met for the first time on Thursday ahead of the precinct's opening next month.

The Manufacturing Precinct, headquartered at Monash University’s Clayton Campus, will be part of the federal government’s Industry Innovation Precinct initiative, announced in February.

 “The board includes a strong mix of major manufacturers and SMEs, along with representatives from unions, the research sector and the manufacturing value chain,” said industry minister Greg Combet of the Manufacturing Precinct board. It is chaired by Albert Goller, formerly the managing director and chair of Siemens Australia and New Zealand. The precinct network’s chair is John Grill, the former head of engineering firm WorleyParsons.

The network of 10 innovation precincts is budgeted at $500 million. According to the Industry Department’s website, the Manufacturing Precinct, “Will enable firms to collaborate and build scale with each other and researchers both at home and abroad to improve knowledge and skills, deploy technology and develop a cohort of growth-oriented businesses.”

Combet said in a statement that collaboration between businesses and researchers, “Will work with our manufacturing sector to improve knowledge and skills, deploy technology and develop growth-oriented businesses.”

The opposition has previously dismissed the precinct network as a re-announcement of the government’s Industrial Research Transformation Hubs, and the benefit from the precincts is unclear.

“The Government thinks the idea of innovation precincts sounds good in theory, so it keeps re-announcing it, but the reality is that it didn’t deliver on it during 2011 or 2012 and it can’t deliver now,” said shadow industry minister Sophie Mirabella in March.

 

The Manufacturing Precinct board includes:

·         Christine Bridges Taylor, General Manager and Director, B&R Enclosures

·         Paul Bastian, National Secretary, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union

·         Dr Fred Davis, Vice President of Business Development, Universal Biosensors

·         John Dixon, Managing Director, Silk Logistics Group

·         Dr Calum Drummond, Group Executive, Manufacturing, Materials and Minerals, CSIRO

·         Mike Edwards, General Manager, Boeing Research & Technology Australia

·         Professor Paul Greenfield AO, Chair, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

·         Michael Heard, member of South Australian Premier's Science and Industry Council and former CEO of Codan Ltd

·         Dr Frank Koentgen, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ozgene

·         Rhett Morson, General Manager, Morson Engineering

·         Mike Rausa, Executive Director Corporate Services, Toyota Motor Corporation Australia