Revive local manufacturing to save jobs

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has launched the ‘Making Our Future’ campaign to revive local manufacturing and save the industry.

The campaign has been kicked off today by AMWU national secretary Paul Bastian, and calls for all levels of government to improve procurement policies.

According to Bastian, in 2004 Australian cars accounted for two-thirds of all government fleets, but had dropped to one third last year. He said returning to 2004 levels would mean an extra 20,000 Australian cars would be made, reports the Brisbane Times.

''We think governments at all levels should be taking the lead in the buy Australian campaign,'' Bastian added.

The campaign will focus on the fact that 1 million people are employed in the industry.

Bastian pointed out that since the global financial crisis 125,000 jobs had been lost, with the government's manufacturing taskforce estimating at least another 85,000 will go by 2017 if steps are not taken.

The campaign will also emphasise that 25 per cent of exports are from the sector, as well accounting for a quarter of all research and development.

Bastian went on to say that there must be more accountability and transparency in the resource industry in terms of Australian products, particularly steel.

He called for the government to do more to ensure there was a level playing field with other countries.

Though a long-term structural change was needed, Bastian said the short-term future could be strengthened by bringing forward infrastructure projects.

The campaign comes as Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney warned that the increase of contract work was a threat to mine safety because a lasting culture of safety cannot be fostered.

“A lasting safety culture cannot be created with a mobile, temporary workforce,” Kearney said.