Manufacturing still alive with Victoria leading the way

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released quarterly labour figures that states almost one million Australians are still working in manufacturing, with Victoria leading the way.

Despite a string of high-profile job losses over the past six months, Victorian manufacturing has emerged as Australia’s strongest, with 10,000 full-time jobs created in the past year, reports The Age.

The ABS has counted 962,000 people working in manufacturing, which is up one per cent in the past three months. Manufacturing now accounts for just over eight per cent of the workforce.

According to employment and workplace relations minister Bill Shorten, the recent jump in manufacturing jobs, although small, signalled a resilience in the sector.

''Australia is still a country that makes stuff despite all the gloom and doom about the high dollar,'' Shorten said.

Shorten went on to say that high-tech manufacturing, food manufacturing, textile and clothing, and recycling all had terrific stories to tell about Australian companies making things.

These manufacturing success stories mostly involved firms being prepared to invest significantly in research and design, Shorten explained.

Victorian manufacturing minister Richard Dalla-Riva said that there had been a tendency in public debate to portray as inevitable the predictions about the demise of manufacturing in the state.

Dalla-Riva stated that there were now 308,200 Victorians in manufacturing jobs compared with 295,100 at the same time last year.

Full-time jobs in Victoria have gone from 248,000 to 258,000, Dalla-Riva added.

However, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union pointed to the recent lay-offs in Victoria at Ford, Qantas, UGL Rail in Ballarat and car parts manufacturer CMI as evidence that serious problems were confronting the state's manufacturing sector.

The union's assistant state secretary, Leigh Diehm said the Baillieu government's lack of infrastructure investment was resulting in job losses in industries that relied on public sector spending.

''For them to be claiming credit for anything in manufacturing is frankly breathtaking,'' Diehm added