Labor’s manufacturing plan — unions and employers react

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Labor’s manufacturing plan — unions and employers react

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced a one-billion-dollar package to boost Australian manufacturing; and, while Labor’s plan has received support from unions and most employers, the mining industry has expressed reservations.

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The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced a one-billion-dollar package to boost Australian manufacturing; and, while Labor’s plan has received support from unions and most employers, the mining industry has expressed reservations.

The Prime Minister noted that the focus today is on making sure we get high skill, high wage jobs in the future by focusing on innovation:
‘When people hear the word “innovation”, many would think about a person in a lab wearing a white coat who is coming up with something that that’s never been invented before … But innovation too is what is happening in this factory behind me where a different way, a different material for the building of the flaps on planes is going to change those planes forever and that work can be done here because the intellectual work to make it happen, happened in Australia.’
Three components to plan

Gillard continued:
‘So today I announce a plan for Australian jobs; a plan that focuses on innovation; a plan that means we will be seizing the opportunity in our region as well as the opportunities at home.

It’s a plan for blue collar jobs. It’s a plan to make sure that we are a manufacturing nation and we have many diverse sources of strength in our economy.

The plan has three essential component parts.
 
First, it’s about making sure we win business here in Australia. Australia is home to many big projects in the resources sector and beyond.

The plan I announce today means that when there are projects worth more than $500 million, they will need to have an Australian Industry Participation Plan.

They will need to look to how they can involve Australian businesses and create Australian jobs in what they do …

We will bring to the parliament the Australian Jobs Act to put this focus on Australian industry participation in businesses worth more than $500 …

The second component of the plan is making sure that we are supporting businesses to win work overseas. We are living in a region of huge growth and change.

We need to be supporting our businesses as they seize those exports and seek to grow.

So we will be investing in up to 10 industry precincts which will begin together researchers, innovators, sources of new knowledge with businesses so we can get the move from the creation of that new knowledge into new products, new ways of doing things, so we can seize that innovation and we can be the best at what we do and sell it into the region and sell it into the world.

Third, we will ensure that we are working with small businesses to help them grow.

Australia is actually a nation of many small businesses, micro-businesses who have fewer than five employees …’
Support from ACTU

The Gillard Government’s $1 billion plan to support Australian manufacturing will keep jobs in Australia and create new opportunities for Australian manufacturers, the ACTU has said.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said new laws requiring developers of projects valued at over $500 million to allow Australian firms to bid for contracts were a welcome step towards creating a level playing-field for Australian businesses and workers.

The government also plans to establish 10 innovation precincts around Australia by 2014, starting with a manufacturing precinct based in southeast Melbourne and Adelaide.

‘These precincts are a great example of what we need to do to have a thriving high-value manufacturing sector in Australia,’ Oliver said.

ACCI and Ai Group in favour

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) commented that the Gillard Government’s industry and innovation Statement deserves a significant measure of business support.

‘It is rightly targeted at arresting eroding competitiveness and understandably weighted towards industries in transition,’ said ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson.

‘The package a welcome step in building the strength and diversity of the Australian economy,’ Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox said.

‘The measures will lift the opportunities for domestic business in both local and export markets; they will stimulate innovation, including by establishing better links between businesses and Australia’s very strong research capabilities; and, further progress the critical task of strengthening the capabilities of Australia’s small and medium sized enterprises,’ Willox added.

Miners say ‘increase in regulatory burden’

The mining industry did not come out in support of the Federal Government’s new jobs package, saying it will only increase the regulatory burden on the industry.

The Minerals Council has described the measure as unnecessary, unwarranted and inefficient.

Greens: ‘plan lacks guts’

Labor’s industry plan lacks guts, Greens Deputy Leader and industry spokesperson, Adam Bandt, said.

‘Major projects, including the big miners, should have to do more than simply talk to local firms and put an advertisement in the paper. There should also be a requirement to use a minimum level of Australian content,’ Bandt said.
 
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