Saving manufacturing a two-way street, says Carr

It may be a tough road ahead for Australian manufacturing, but the Government has assured the industry will have a place in the country’s future.

Noting the importance maintaining a manufacturing industry in Australia, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Senator Kim Carr stressed that innovation and forward thinking will ensure the survival of the country’s oldest industry in his closing address to the Australian Steel Industry Convention yesterday.

In summary, Senator Carr made three key points. He said:

  • “First, as far as this Government is concerned, Australia must be in the business of making things, and Australian steel has to be part of that.
  • “Second, we deal with the world as it is. Not the way it was. Not the way it should be. The way it is.
  • “Third, the Government is not in the business of calling “game over”. There are a million people in manufacturing, and there has been for the better part of fifty years.”

Senator Carr also referred to latest National Accounts which revealed that manufacturing in Australia in general is growing, despite varying reports from industry and corporate bodies.

Figures show metal products rose 14 per cent for the quarter and 16 per cent in the year to June; a result the Senator said should make Australia confident that manufacturing will emerge from “the biggest social change” it has faced in two generations.

“Manufacturing has a great future, but it won’t be like the manufacturing of the past. It will be manufacturing of a different type, employing new technologies and new industrial processes. This is how we will maintain prosperity and living standards for our people,” Senator Carr said.

“Everyone here knows there are disputed claims about the level of local content in resources projects. My position is, whatever the level is, it’s not good enough.

“We have many world-class engineering companies in this country. My position is there are not enough of them.”

While there is more the Government can do to improve local content for Australian steel, transformation and innovation is a two-way street, Senator Carr argued.

“We have the right to expect the companies who profit from our resources will give local industry a fair go. Local industry also has to be internationally competitive.

“Commercial relationships have to be made on mutual self-interest – not on compulsion. No-one here is interested in excuses.”