Reports of the death of manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated, believes Ian Murray, executive director of the Australian Institute of Export (AIEx), citing advanced manufacturers Cochlear and Resmed as examples of companies that still produce in Australia, during yesterday’s panel session of the AIEx’s ‘Managing your export business in a turbulent global environment’ conference.
Panellist Jayne Facey, AusIndustry’s Victoria state manager, agreed that manufacturing is not dead but as a nation we need to become more savvy about the sector: “Australia needs to manufacture things it can manufacture well.”
Remarking on the recent cuts at Pacific Brands, trade economist Martin Feil said that most manufacturing policies were designed for large manufacturers and government should look at how small manufacturers are affected.
“We’ve got hundreds of thousands of small manufacturing businesses; they’re not into making singlets or socks on a big scale, but the smaller engineering things. We must work out how the thousands of small businesses can share services and how we can give them really good rules and access to compliance if we’re going to import goods,” he said. “There are a lot of procedural aspects that are really killing people.”
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