In the face of the high Australian dollar, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called for the manufacturing sector to renew its productivity drive to meet the demands of the 21st century, and has recognised the role of National Manufacturing Week (NMW) in the industry's structural change.
NMW 2012 – co-located with Austech – takes place May 8 – 11, Sydney Showground – Sydney Olympic Park, featuring some 450 exhibitors and an extensive conference program. When last held in Sydney in 2010, NMW attracted more than 10,000 industry visitors, and organisers Reed Exhibitions expects this year’s event to be equally strong.
Prime Minister Gillard commends NMW 2012 for honouring manufacturing’s “outstanding contribution” – and renews her call for Government and industry to cooperatively “get it right” when developing industry’s infrastructure, capacity and skills. In a statement to NMW, Ms Gillard said:
“National Manufacturing Week is a time to celebrate the outstanding contribution that the manufacturing sector makes to Australia’s prosperity.”
“Through a quarter of a century of reform and change, Australian manufacturing has become tough and resilient. We have built skills. Opened niche markets. And driven higher up the value chain.
“Now, with the impact of the high currency, we have to renew our productivity drive for the demands of the 21st century – the Asian Century.
“It is a time of challenge, but also a time of opportunity because over the next fifty years, the whole weight of global economic growth will shift to our region and Asia’s middle class will become larger than the middle classes of the entire developed world combined.
“This is a huge potential advantage for Australian manufacturing, provided we invest now in the innovative capacity, skills and infrastructure that will make us competitive providers of high-quality products.
“We’ve already begun that journey through measures such as the NBN, our Clean Energy Future Package, Buy Australian initiatives, the R&D Tax Incentive and our massive expansion of vocational education and university places. Later this year, my Taskforce on Manufacturing will release its vision and roadmap for the future of the sector.
“Most importantly, we will draw inspiration from the competitive instincts of Australian business and the willingness of all parties – government, industry and employees- to cooperatively assess the ways we can navigate the Asian Century.
“This is the important context in which National Manufacturing Week is being held because in 2012, the decisions and directions we take now will determine our success for the years and decades to come. Let’s get it right together.”
Paul Baker, Exhibition Director for NMW comments that over the past 13 years, NMW has established itself as Australia’s manufacturing industry’s largest integrated event.
“NMW aims to strengthen manufacturing through technology, innovation and education – and we are delighted that the Prime Minister acknowledges our contribution to helping industry respond to critical changes in domestic and global markets,” Baker said.
This year’s event includes a comprehensive conference program, with leading Government and industry experts sharing real-world strategies and practical tips for industry. The program’s highlight is the one-day NMW 2012 Conference: Essential strategies, tools and methodologies for Australian manufacturers, focusing on industry’s largest concerns: productivity, sustainability and innovation.
Reflecting industry changes, NMW 2012 will introduce two new Product Zones – Sustainable Manufacturing and Metals & Composites – bringing the event to a record 12 Product Zones to help visitors quickly find areas of specific interest.
With NMW’s large and varied program now in place, Baker recommends visiting the website – nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au – well ahead of the May event, to identify target exhibitors, conference and partner events.
Visitors can also pre-register at nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au for free, fast entry when NMW 2012’s doors open on May 8.