Meeting manufacturers and food processors in person and virtually over the months, it’s evident the COVID pandemic has exposed not only our current reliance on other countries but also the need to capitalise on the opportunities we have here in our regions.
Here’s a summary of a statement on manufacturing I made to the senate today:
- COVID has disrupted our supply chain, exposed our reliance on other countries for manufacturing goods and dependence on the global supply chain
- But it also exposed our ability to adapt in times of national crisis to produce the goods we need
- We need to start making Australia make again, and regional Australia has a significant role in that
- The national COVID Taskforce identified the need to reinvigorate and bolster Australia’s manufacturing capability and regional Australia is the perfect place to lead our manufacturing recovery – we have close proximity to raw materials and natural resources and a growing population base, not to mention our regions offering the ideal lifestyle
But we need innovation and a vision for regional manufacturing and that includes overcoming the current challenges such as:
- Regional development frameworks remain fragmented
- Rising energy costs
- Lack of skilled workers
- The need to catch up in R&D and innovation, and joining up infrastructure including communications
As John ‘Black Jack’ McEwen – Australia’s most significant and longest serving Minister for Trade who forged our second World War economic boom – said: “Australia is one of the few countries of the world that’s not only self sufficient in food and important raw materials but has export surplus in these things.” He went on to say: “It would be a great mistake if our manufacturing potential were to be neglected or under-estimated”.
You can watch the speech here.