Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced “a new era of Australian manufacturing” as part of the government’s JobMaker Plan to rebuild the economy, create jobs and recover from the COVID-19 recession.
Speaking at the National Press Club, Morrison said around $1.5-billion in new funding will be invested over the next four years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to make Australian manufacturers more competitive, resilient and able to scale-up to take on the world.
We need to keep making things
“We make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia. And with this strategy, we will,” he said.
The PM believed the COVID crisis would open a new chapter for Australian manufacturing as a revitalised source of high-wage jobs, valuable exports and national income.
“It will play to Australia’s strengths, improve collaboration and commercialisation, and create a sector that is modern, dynamic and highly skilled,” he noted.
Strategy reflects lessons learned
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said the strategy reflects the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as extensive work with industry before that.
“By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and boosting the role of science and technology in industry, we can open up new markets and take more of our quality products to the world,” she stated.
The centrepiece of the strategy is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), which will see the government invest in projects that help manufacturers to scale up and create jobs.
Six national manufacturing priorities
The MMI will support projects within six National Manufacturing Priorities which reflect Australia’s established competitive advantages or emerging areas of priority. These are: Resources technology and critical minerals processing; Food and beverage; Medical products; Recycling and clean energy; Defence; Space.
“This is about Australia playing to its strengths and the Government strategically investing in areas of manufacturing where we know we have an edge and that can deliver the jobs we need,” Andrews said.
Industry will be asked to co-design tailored road maps for each of the priority sectors to set clear goals over the next two, five and 10 years, and identify the barriers and opportunities that will guide action and investment.