We are a credit to our manufacturing history, Senator Carr writes

A MILLION manufacturing workers clocked-on in 1961. A million will clock on today. 

They are the heart of the great story of Australian manufacturing – a story that Manufacturers’ Monthly is rightly proud to chronicle.

People in manufacturing tend to respect their history. They value the insight that comes from decades of endurance in a tough global market. They know their debt to the workers of the past; and they repay it by investing in the workers of the future. 

That’s why, when markets shift, and technology moves on, manufacturers don’t flinch. They make sacrifices. They make changes. They learn to thrive – not just endure – through innovation. 

Those who have not lived that story cannot do justice to the resilience and ingenuity of those million Australians.

They cannot account for the fivefold increase in the productivity of our manufacturing industries in the space of the last five decades. They cannot understand why manufacturers invest more in research and development than any other industry sector. They cannot explain why Australian manufacturers have emerged resilient through the booms and busts of a volatile global economy.

They do not hear the voice of a million workers determined to ensure their story lives on for generations to come.

Labor stands shoulder to shoulder with the workers in that mission. Our stories were twined together in their earliest chapters. They will never be untied.

I know there are difficult times ahead. I see the impact of rising energy costs and currency fluctuations. I recognise how hard it can be to secure the capital and skilled workers to innovate. Glib answers won’t ring true to people who know their history.

The Labor Government offers instead its commitment to face the realities of the twenty-first century squarely, with confidence in our greatest asset – the workers of Australia. We have been working with manufacturers and unions to turn their ideas into commercial returns since we came to office. Through the carbon price, we will help them prepare for a clean energy future. We will give them the certainty to invest in cost-cutting technology – and the assurance that every cent of the revenue we raise will be redirected to keep our industries strong and our living standards secure. 

We take up the threads of an incredible story – a story that deserves to be told. I trust, in fifty years’ time, Manufacturers’ Monthly will still tell it with pride. 

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