In October 2011 the Australian Prime Minister appointed a taskforce to evaluate, make recommendations regarding, and forecast the prognosis of the state of the country’s manufacturing industry. The task force operated under the auspices of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (yes, that’s a mouthful) and held its final meeting in May 2012 and released a final report, Smarter Manufacturing for a Smarter Australia, in August of last year.
Challenges for the Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing industry is a vital part of Australian economy and has ties to production, construction, utilities, and service providers, to name a few. Despite how essential it is to the financial stability and growth of the country, manufacturing faces challenges such as elevated exchange rates, global competition, and weaknesses in critical links of industry supply chains. Job loss has been staggering since the global recession occurred and companies that have been able to remain financially afloat are still suffering from the impact to the industry itself and the businesses around them.
Prime Minister’s Task Force Optimistic
The Prime Minister’s task force emphasized its feeling of optimism regarding the ability of Australian manufacturing to achieve a level of effective competitiveness on a global scale, provided the government will be proactive in developing and implementing policy changes that fully support endorsement of emerging technological advancements and manufacturing opportunities, as well as providing options for growth of productivity in the manufacturing industry.
Australia has been rated as the world’s best place for mining investment for four years, and the fruits of the mining industry’s labors greatly enrich the economic quality and stability of the country and aid in connecting the country to a global marketplace. Two of the key factors in Australia’s rating were the short turn-around time for obtaining permits and a very low frequency of mining corruption. There are concerns, however, and a spokesman for the Minerals Council of Australia stated that two of the biggest potential threats to the growth and profitability of the mining industry are the high taxes, which only further beleaguer a high-cost country, and a decline in international competitiveness which has an impact because Australia is more dependent upon global trade than local business.
Recently, the Australian mining industry has suffered a major setback requiring the layoff of hundreds, if not thousands, of workers due to increasing production costs and decreasing commodity prices of gold and coal, two of Australia’s biggest mined resources. The mining industry had previously been the country’s “savior” when it came to shielding the economy from serious meltdown during the global financial crisis, so the fallout from deterioration of the industry may produce effects seen on more than just a local or regional level.
How Will the Task Force Affect the Industry?
The manufacturing task force presented a detailed agenda including over 40 recommendations for the industry. The agenda’s goals took into account many factors such as workplaces, supply chains, businesses, initiatives, and technology – preceded by descriptive adjectives such as bigger, better, stronger, and smarter. Recommendations offer support of evaluating all aspects of manufacturing and developing achievable plans for strengthening Australia’s global foothold in the industry, supporting improvements in management, logistics, and operations, and implementing economic and industry-based initiatives that reinforce stability, marketability, and profitability.
Thus far, the task force’s goals and objectives have had little impact on Australia’s mining industry, as it continues to suffer due to lack of expansion, job loss, higher taxes, and global competition. Given the emphasis on manufacturing and mining as critical elements of the country’s economic stability, the Commonwealth Government should strive to ensure the success of these industries to likewise ensure that the country itself continues to thrive.
Article is written by Nicole whose family has been in the mining industry for years. She is fascinated to learn about anything within this industry, from world news with mining, to the best options for fag bearings.
Miner image c/o Julien Harneis