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The three pillars of manufacturing reform for 2013

25 March, 2013

In the past year, there has been significant progress made on some reforms to support Australia's manufacturing sector, notably in the anti-dumping area.

Manufacturing Australia (MA), a business coalition of Australia's biggest manufacturers, congratulates those in government and opposition parties, as well as wider industry who have helped realise these reforms.

But in an important year for the future of Australia now is not the time to pause for reflection.

Manufacturing is the value-adding lifeblood of a balanced Australian economy. Through job creation, import replacement and maximising the value of our natural resources, manufacturing delivers tremendous benefits to the nation.

MA members share a common goal: to create and retain Australian manufacturing jobs, by growing our sector and working with governments and stakeholders to address the challenges facing many manufacturing industries. This will be achieved through broad innovation, good policy and workplace flexibility.

"We stand for a fair level playing field, a sound commercial and regulatory environment that attracts investment and a representative voice to raise the calibre of national debate on the issues affecting the sector," Sue Morphet, Chairman of Manufacturing Australia, said.

MA advocates sensible, strategic public policies that encourage Australian manufacturing to grow the sector's capacity, create jobs and maximise the value returned to all Australians.

An MA delegation led by Morphet and several of the member CEOs travelled to Canberra recently to meet with senior politicians from all parties and ask they commit to working in partnership with the Australian manufacturing sector to address three new pillars of reform that will make a profound difference to the competitiveness and sustainability of Australian manufacturing in 2013 and beyond.

The MA policy manifesto, Australia's Manufacturing Advantage, outlines three key policies that can make a real difference to the competitiveness and sustainability of Australian manufacturing.

"Through smart policy and strategic investments, our sector can in the next decade directly and indirectly create 100,000 new jobs and drive a manufacturing resurgence throughout rural, regional and outer-suburban Australia," Morphet said.

MA intends to continue working with the Australian federal and state governments, as well as industry, to ensure fair and appropriate industry policies, and to secure the future of this sector.

Three pillars of manufacturing reform for 2013

1. Australia's energy advantage

Australia is an energy and resources superpower. Currently our domestic energy policies largely fail to capitalise on our energy advantage. Unlike countries that identify and exploit their natural advantages, Australia is squandering its own.

MA believes that Australia can seize its energy advantage by: creating a domestic gas market that enables value-adding manufacturing alongside gas exports; ensuring electricity reforms prioritise maintaining Australia's energy advantage; making the renewable energy target a percentage, not an absolute number; and removing the disadvantage of introducing a carbon tax that is not consistent with our trading partners.

2. Restoring fair trade

Australia is a trade-orientated economy which has prospered over the last 30 years by pursuing an open trade agenda.

Mismanagement of open trade can easily lead to unintended consequences such as dumping and exclusion of domestic manufacturers from domestic markets. This undermines fairness and limits growth and development in domestic manufacturing.

MA is seeking fair outcomes for trade exposed industries which will operate within World Trade Organisation guidelines and allow Australia's manufacturing sector to grow.

MA has identified three priority areas for action by federal and state governments: overhaul coastal shipping regulations to ensure Australian manufacturers are not disadvantaged; strengthen anti-dumping powers to stop predatory dumping and circumvention of dumping duties by foreign importers, address currency manipulation and provide redress against subsidies to foreign manufacturers; and strengthen industry participation schemes to remove "gaming" and ensure they meet their intended aim of boosting Australian involvement in major projects.

3. Investing for manufacturing growth

To grow Australian manufacturing, two significant obstacles must be overcome.

First, industry, governments and communities alike must shift the perception that manufacturing in Australia is a "sunset" industry whose future will be marked by continued decline. Second, government policy settings should recognise and address unfair barriers currently placed on domestic manufacturers.

MA has identified five priority areas for action by federal and state governments: maximise competitiveness through investment in infrastructure; promote research and development; strengthen industry-linked training to up-skill Australia's manufacturing workforce; increase the flexibility of Australian manufacturing workplaces; and strengthen regulations that stimulate demand and remove the burden of regulations that do not.

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Lou Furbadamo | Thursday, April 4, 2013, 9:17 AM
“The Three Ripe Zits of Australian Industrial Discomfort”? But Wow! “Manufacturing is the value-adding lifeblood of a balanced Australian economy. Through job creation, import replacement and maximising the value of our natural resources, manufacturing delivers tremendous benefits to the nation!” and regular ditties like “investment in infrastructure”, “improved productivity”, “R & Dev.”, “training & skilling”, “flexibility” and the rarer “maximise competitiveness of Aussie manufacture”. Such ringing hollow, music! And you thought, No one in Gov. or complying industry pampered, “Happy Jan/Prue” leadership, would know or admit this coal face, Secret Manufacturing Men’s Business? And then for “Her” to enchantingly take my breath away with, “We stand for a fair level playing field, a sound commercial and regulatory environment that attracts investment and a representative voice to raise the calibre of national debate on the issues affecting the sector.” Is astounding reassurance, even from cynics with contrary “Pac. Brands action”? Regardless, boasting moves to correct basic anomalies, viz. “anti-dumping”, “currency manipulations” & “boosting Aust. involvement in major projects”, is common sense and no great, new game changing achievement! I’ve been consistently scathing of habitual clueless government & industry incompetence, that’s caused progressive demise of traditional, local manufacturing. Industry and business groups are not blameless, because they’ve tacitly allowed, and effectively harboured destructive “Be-trading Government policies”. Including naive globalisation & recent conning Asian China Century Butt wipe paper? Enlightened, objectives sound wonderful! But after 35 years, it’s all familiar minestrone hype & spin. Just a different, eager spinner & prettier beak, but same old problems, issues, factory closures and increasing unemployment? Despite, many being dopily unable to understand & condemningly conclude this! The overly exposed, dim industry Hoodoo Gurus and endorsing bureaucrats, should’ve furbo asked; “What are we preaching or proposing now, that’s different from past discredited, failed strategies & spin. That’s led to current terminal malaise, factory closures and off shore relocations”? Sadly nothing! Because nothing in this regurgitated “three pillar Zits, four buttresses, five columns or seven capuchin or Mexican hats” will primarily fix the worsening issue of high cost of manufacture, untenable compliance expense and gross, all-round, multi facit un-competitiveness! Industrial common sense, efficiency, unselfishness and ordinarily innate self best interest, have been stubborn rarities in this country? But, it’s like telling an unwavering psychotic, they’ve a serious problem! The treatment ain’t easy, nor augers well? But it’s still necessary, and some poor, unflinching furbo has to cop the flack-crap and do it! My “extreme view” has superficially cost popularity, respect and worst, had me errantly, moronically labelled un-Australian! Alternatively, it’s still far better to avoid the regular industry and political w*nk & crawl conforming. Which has proven as ingloriously defective, as "rationing floaties on the Fair Titanic Australis", instead of properly releasing & launching the saving lifeboats! Nevertheless, It’s always orgasmic, to hear goer women talk and passionately fondle, “Level playing fields”? But like thoughts of laying in lush level fields of tickling clover, it’s all dream time for Oz! Unless dopey, spouting parochials, kick the ignorant paralysis paradox; Of exemplary political and economic wellness and standing, through nonsense, over burdening, over political, redundant, sapping State government misrepresentation! Otherwise enshrined as “You get what you pay for”? Snorting Bullsh*t! Continued. 2/2.
Lou Furbadamo | Thursday, April 4, 2013, 9:21 AM
Cont. 2/2. Many die-hards insist our exaggerated “superior standard of living and freedoms,” are the result of obligingly paying through the nose, for all these expensively sapping, redundant state governments, pollies and bureaucrats. And strongly resist waste elimination & efficiency changes to reduce the overburdening that retards and disadvantages our economy & manufacturing? Industry “experts” should’ve embraced the Pareto Principle for better return on problem solving fixes! Even an “amateur brainstormer”, would realise that having to divert trillions in resource & money to pay for 8 political heads (PM & premiers), plus similar gross quantities of "shambolic" governors and governor generals, plus thousands of hangers on and redundant bureaucrat position fillers, are extraordinarily burdening economic imposts, that sap and destroy competitiveness! Unless we’re really Special, Speciale! And a superior Aussie cut above all the daggy rest? Failure to get objectivity & rationality on this crucial subject, suggests common sense, efficiency, unselfishness and ordinarily, innate self best interest, have been economic rarities in this country? Arguably, most Australians suffer from a debilitating, pollie infatuation, furbo deficient, “denial paralysis”. A paradigm of social & economic wellness through nonsense, exorbitantly wasteful, insanely burdening, pollie & government sapping, over representation! That must eventually be confronted and kicked for long term economic sustainability, success and prosperity! A habitual, political over hyped bullshit addiction. I importantly, now simply frustratingly, disparagingly refer to as the, “Furbo Syndrome”! Although sapping, overburdening, destructive politics is world wide endemic, it’s severely structurally entrenched in poor, debilitated OZ! Notwithstanding my accuracy, it’s soured discussions, friendships and career opportunities. You’d think I’d been rightfully insulting their perverse, easily rooted, sister states? Touchy! Touchy! But, I’d rather stick to sincere principles and truth, rather than regular delusional, industry and political pandering and nodding crawl! Even a mug, would have more sense, than to back a Champeen Black Caviar horse, if absurdly forced to handicap carry eight Fat interstate Jockeys, for a win? Hopefully, loser locals can realise that; The fewer spendthrift incumbents requiring compliance, blowing our money & credit ratings. The lower the operating overheads and wages pressure and the more competitive & financially stronger, we and local Aussie manufacturing become? Otherwise, ignoring this conceited Australian political paradigm, is akin to conveniently prescribing conning placebo, comfort tinkering in terminal cancer cases, instead of the drastic mastectomy sure cure, to eliminate the insidious threat and give a cleaner, successful fresh start? Further, can some one enlighten me on which Frikin reported “regulations are beneficial or stimulate demand”? I thought they were all a bad, hindrance and undesirable extra cost component? Ie. All that "Wayward Cash Grabbing" burdening BAS paperwork as part of that recessive “GS f**kin T! Maliciously, imposed to provide continuing gross funding to wasteful State Governments? But, where's all me promised “F” residual state tax cuts Donny? Not Convinced Yet? Well remember our devouring Government’s motto? “A few dopey compliant, wealthy ripe, Aussie suckers a day, will help keep the Financial Basket Case Doctor Away”! For quite some time apparently? Better wake up, sucker Bunnies and defensively, Bag and Sack the frikin decrepit thieving lot! Fatalistically, Simply Elementary, My Dear Oz! Cheers, Real Critical, Redundant State Government Eliminating, Aussie Efficiency & Competitiveness Protagonist, Furbo!