Who should get your vote – Carr or Macfarlane?

WITH the federal election to be held very soon, Alan Johnson, Manufacturers' Monthly editor, asked what the two major parties have to offer the manufacturing industry; why they should vote for them on November 24.

WITH the federal election to be held very soon, Alan Johnson, Manufacturers’ Monthly editor, asked what the two major parties have to offer the manufacturing industry; why they should vote for them on November 24.

Shadow industry minister, Senator Kim Carr

“LABOR has a plan for Australia’s future based on innovation. Manufacturing is central to this vision because it drives R&D and the take-up of new technology; not to mention employing over a million Australians.

If a country doesn’t make things any more, national security and prosperity are at risk. Australia is rich in natural and human resources – we must capitalise on these advantages to compete successfully. We must make our own luck: develop smart products and processes and build on great research.

Labor’s ten-point plan for innovation starts with national leadership. Labor will establish a single department to bridge the cultural divide between industry and research; work with state governments to create a truly national innovation system; and cut red tape, streamlining the 169 innovation programs across the country.

Labor will invest up to $100m in a nationwide Manufacturing Network, providing hands-on support to SMEs to identify and implement the latest technology; and to access cutting-edge research and testing facilities.

Labor’s Green Car Partnership is an example of how a Rudd Labor Government will work with industry to tackle climate change.

By investing $500m (on top of the existing Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme), Labor will create a $2bn partnership to secure jobs and protect the environment by building fuel-efficient cars right here. Labor will also make Australia the clean energy hub of the Asia-Pacific by investing up to $35m in a Clean Energy Export Strategy and innovation centre.

In September, Kevin Rudd held a National Manufacturing Roundtable, where Shadow Ministers sat down with manufacturers, researchers and workers to discuss fresh ideas to boost the competitiveness of Australian manufacturing.

If we want to create high skill, high wage jobs for the future, it is clear that we need to cut red tape; implement an education revolution; and boost exports and infrastructure investment. Labor understands the need to integrate these policies and end the Howard Government’s blame game.

Under the new leadership of a Rudd Labor Government, Australian manufacturing will take its place in a national innovation system, helping to build a prosperous, secure future beyond the mining boom.”

Industry minister, Ian Macfarlane

JOHN Howard, Peter Costello and the entire Coalition team have worked tirelessly to lay a strong economic foundation so the Australian manufacturing sector can grow and invest with confidence.

This forward agenda for the manufacturing sector was further advanced by the government’s $1.4bn Industry Statement – Global Integration – released this year.

The Industry Statement is about boosting business productivity, innovation and investment. Above all, it aims to help Australian businesses integrate into the fiercely competitive global economy.

We’re doing this through practical programmes, like Global Opportunities which helps firms form larger networks that can participate on a more equal footing with multinationals in global markets.

We’re rolling out our Australian Industry Productivity Centres which will provide a full suite of business improvement advice, from advice on how to grow, whether to enter new markets, whether to develop new or different products and services and how to be more efficient.

Our Industry Statement targets trade-exposed manufacturing and services sectors and recognises the need for our industry policy settings to keep pace with changing global conditions.

abor, with their recycled Industry spokesperson Kim Carr, thinks it can score political points by constantly talking down manufacturing.

It may be politically convenient for Labor to peddle misinformation and doom and gloom scenarios but the reality is that Australian manufacturers are investing, innovating and exporting at record levels.

And far from haemorrhaging jobs, as Labor insists, 22,000 jobs were created in the sector in the May quarter alone.

Despite the lack of industry policy detail from Labor, we do know that strategic interventions, tripartite councils and some 19 industry reviews are all part of their ‘back to the future’ industry agenda.

We also know Labor would marginalise manufacturing within government to a department with narrow scope, without clear linkages to resources, energy and the services industries. Manufacturing is far more important than that.

The Coalition government is working hard to provide a sustainable future for Australian manufacturing. Our policies are achieving results and if re-elected later this year we’re well positioned to hit the ground running.”

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