Government calls for Innovation in Manufacturing
5 Feb 12
The Minister for Industry and Innovation Greg Combet has called for more innovation in manufacturing but offers no incentive to do so.
The minister touring the Hunter Region's electrical solutions Manufacturer Ampcontrol, describes how the company is meeting the challenges faced by manufacturers through innovation. Whilst Ampcontrol may be in a position to be innovative, many of our older, and under capitalised manufacturers are not, without the need to invest in new technologies. Unlike many other advanced economies, the Australian government offers
no incentives to be innovative or to invest.
Schemes such as accelerated depreciation and other tax incentives have proven to be very successful in allowing overseas manufacturers to be innovative and highly productive.
Many overseas manufacturers markets are also protected by tarrifs, which are long gone in Australia and no Government would have the balls to lift current tariff levels.
There has been much Government rhetoric on the issue of manufacturing but little action, apart from the much publicised support for the automotive industry.
It would seem that the Government is intent to rely our on resources boom to quench the thirst of Asia for our resources, where our iron-ore and coal are exported at high prices, one of the reasons for the high dollar, then we import those resources back as finished products at cheaper prices.
When the boom ends, and the Australia dollar inevitably falls, our manufacturing base will benefit but it is already too late, as such an event is unlikely to see the return of locally manufactured TV's and white goods.
Yes innovation is the longer term key for manufacturers survival, in the absence of any longer term strategic plan for the sector from Government, but the Government has to aid that innovation process by providing incentives for manufacturers to become more innovative and productive.
In the very least the Gillard Government, at best possible speed, should remove all the burdens it has placed on the manufacturing sector itself, such as inflexible and out of date Industrial Relations laws, which give our manufacturer's no flexibility to meet the challenges of a tough and competitive world.
Then there is the toxic tax on carbon to be levied on our manufacturers from July 1. In light of the current challenges the sector is facing, this is merely a slap on the face and necessary only for the Gillard Government to appease the Greens and stay in power.
The manufacturing sector wants the Gillard Government gone and a more pro-active, intelligent and strategic thinking Government in its place. The opposition too is very high on rhetoric, but have yet to come forward with their policy stance in detail.
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