Australian manufacturing industry to be bolstered to help coronavirus recovery, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says
Scott Morrison says bolstering Australia’s local manufacturing industry will not only help with the economic recovery from the pandemic, but also provide opportunities for business on a global scale.
Speaking at the National Press Club, the Prime Minister said the Government’s newly-announced strategy would focus on industries Australia was already doing well in and “emerging priorities”.
The strategy will see more than a billion dollars put towards strengthening supply lines for essential goods and helping manufacturers upscale their businesses.
“Long gone are the days of trying to compete with labour-intensive, low-cost manufacturing economies,” he said.
“Gone too are any pretentions of protectionism as a viable strategy for domestic manufacturing, that’s not where our future is.
“Manufacturing in Australia today has been transformed and will continue to transform.”
Mr Morrison said under the strategy, the goal for Australia’s manufacturing industry was for it to be even more productive, collaborative and highly skilled.
He said it provided opportunities for job creation at all levels from labour to research and design.
The intention is to aim for global success by building on our strengths while also taking advantage of the country’s comparatively strong position amid the pandemic.
But we have to be savvy about it.
“The reality is we cannot, and should not, seek to reach global scale in a large number of sectors,” the Prime Minister said.
“We can’t be all things to all people.
“This is an important lesson from other small and I’d say medium-size, high-income economics like ours which have leveraged home-ground manufacturing into global success.
“The lesson [is], don’t try to do everything.”
Mr Morrison also noted work needed to be done to make Australia a more competitive option in order to attract businesses from far and wide.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the test would be to see if the Government followed through on its visions outlined in the strategy.
“The only thing that Scott Morrison has managed to manufacture in his time in government is announcements, rather than actually manufacturing jobs,” he said.
To provide greater focus on what it is we should be doing, the Government has outlined six key areas — defence, space, medicine and medical products, food and beverages, resources technology and recycling and clean energy.
Move to secure supply chains
The Prime Minister also spoke of how the strategy would move to secure “sovereign capability” after global supply chains, including ones Australia is dependent on, were disrupted by the pandemic.
He described it as building “national resilience”.
“We can’t ignore the obvious, the benefits of hyperglobalisation and highly fragmented supply chains can evaporate very quickly in the event of a major global shock like the COVID-19 pandemic, as we’ve seen,” Mr Morrison said.
“Armed with this experience, it is sensible Australia consider, as so many other countries are, more options to guard against supply chain vulnerability for critical necessities, and to secure us against future shocks.”
There were fears at the beginning of the pandemic there would be a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) because of increases in global demand.
It led to Australian manufacturers and businesses pivoting to begin producing masks, gowns and ventilators, or existing businesses ramping up production to record levels.