Public pessimistic about manufacturing’s future: report

A recent survey has found that two thirds of Australians believe the manufacturing sector cannot compete on the world stage and that many are opposed to government support for the sector.

According to The Australian, the survey, entitled Public Perceptions of Manufacturing, was commissioned by the Industry Department and carried out by the Wallis Consultancy Group. Its intention was to guide the deliberations of the Manufacturing Leaders Group, which was established by the Gillard government.

The survey included a poll of 1,503 respondents and involved 0 focus groups.

90 per cent of those surveyed believed that the manufacturing sector is important, especially in providing jobs and most actually believed manufacturing contributed more to the Australian economy than it actually does. (Many overstated its importance by three or four times).

But it also found that just 37 per cent of respondents said they believe Australia can compete globally and most parents who responded said they would not encourage their children to seek jobs in the sector.

Most people had a negative view of Australian manufacturing. When asked about their "top of mind" thoughts, 19 per cent said manufacturing was declining, dying or in trouble; 16 per said it was not big enough; 13 per cent felt manufacturing was heading offshore; and 12 per cent said high running costs made it cheaper to make things overseas.

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