Manufacturing News

Unions lobby for manufacturing focus at today’s Future Jobs Forum

Today’s Future Jobs Forum in Canberra will tackle some big issues for Australia’s manufacturing society, in particular, how to coexist with our booming mining industry.

The Forum’s function is to provide over 100 delegates from different industrial sectors with information and ideas about how they can better work together towards growth.

One of the main topics on the agenda will be the wide-spread concern from different levels of industry regarding our ‘boom and bust’ economy, in which for one industry to boom, another must necessarily bust. 

The AMWU and the ACTU will both be lobbying hard to get the best outcome for Australia’s manufacturing workers, who are feeling the full effect of the mining industry’s boom period. 

The AMWU says the two trade unions will push for:

Accelerated depreciation: An accelerated rate of depreciation for resource sector companies – and other sectors such as construction – to write down assets that include a percentage of Australian local content;

Local content transparency: Increased transparency from proponents on resources sector projects – including detail procurement processes, the supply chain, the expected percentage of local content and potential for regional development;

Clean technology development: Ensuring the Clean Energy Future plan delivers a local manufacturing base, not just a technology and research base;

Productivity improvements: A high-level, tri-partite body to coordinate genuine, industry-wide, productivity improvements with a focus on management skills and systems and innovation;

Anti-Dumping: Swift and full implementation of the Federal Government’s reforms to the Australian anti-dumping regime, as well as robust enforcement of the new system; and

Chinese Yuan: A diplomatic effort calling on China to float their currency.

“We can’t just bury our heads in the sand – we’ve got to face the reality of the manufacturing crisis that is before us,” said AWU National Secretary Paul Howes.  

“Australia is currently facing complex and challenging macroeconomic factors as a result of the mining boom, and these factors are driving clear structural changes to our economy.”

Howes claims the mining industry can’t replace all the jobs lost in the manufacturing sector, which employs just short of a million people. 

For Howes, the best outcome from today’s Future Jobs Forum would be to agree on a practical plan to ease the pinch being felt by domestic manufacturers.

This would focus on local supply, innovation and productivity, and an anti-dumping regime.

The ACTU and the AMWU have released a jointly-authored paper, which they will present to government today to guide them on the unique challenges faced by manufacturers.

Image, sourced from AAP, shows AMWU national secretary Paul Howes at The National Press Club.


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