Victorian manufacturing jobs on-the-rise despite strong dollar

Manufacturing jobs in Victoria have risen for the second consecutive quarter, despite the challenges of the strong dollar, official statistics show.

The Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva, says the figures are encouraging, showing that investment and jobs are continuing to grow in the manufacturing sector in Victoria, despite touch market conditions.

Dalla-Riva was commenting on the latest labour force report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), showing 311,800 workers were employed in manufacturing in Victoria in May, which is 16,700 more people than were employed in the sector in August 2011. 

Most of the increases in jobs were in full-time employment, Dalla-Riva said.

"This sends a strong message to those who would seek to talk down the future of manufacturing in Victoria,"  Dalla-Riva said.

"Victorian manufacturing has shown great fortitude and resilience in the face of multiple challenges including the currency appreciation and intense global competition. It is notable that employment in manufacturing has held up in Victoria while it has fallen across the nation generally.

"The Victorian Coalition Government has introduced a $58 million strategy to help manufacturers build a strong and successful future by improving their productivity and competitiveness, and by assisting them in identifying and capturing emerging growth markets globally.”

Just last week, Dalla-Riva and the Deputy Premier, Peter Ryan, joined food manufacturer SPC Ardmona in announcing plans to expand and upgrade its production facilities in Shepparton and Mooroopna sites, creating new jobs for the sector.

Last month, a new CSR Gyprock plant at Yarraville, Victoria, was officially opened, securing 160 manufacturing jobs and hiking production by 45%.

Meanwhile, the 2012/13 Victorian Budget announced in May promised to provide $58 million of funding over the next four years for new productivity networks, support for new technology and innovation and specialist advice and services for Victorian manufacturers.

Dalla-Riva warns however that Victorian manufacturers are still battling against difficult market conditions, including the strong dollar and the impending carbon tax.

"However, the stresses in the sector are not to be underestimated. As I have said repeatedly, there could not be a worse time to introduce a carbon tax,” he said.

"Higher energy costs under a carbon tax will have a severe impact on profitability and investment, and it will put our manufacturers at a distinct disadvantage against competitors in our own region, who will not carry the added burden of this tax.”