South Australia is committed to its Manufacturing sector, developing a 10-year blueprint to grow the industry and generate more employment.The $11.1 million Manufacturing Works strategy will be anchored on four areas: upgrading leadership and skills of the labour force, attracting overseas markets, boosting sectoral capacity for innovation, and addressing policy gaps.
“We need to compete with other countries by making products that are niche, high-value products, rather than cheap products, made by workers on low wages,” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.
Mr Weatherill believes, South Australia could not continually ignore the industry which employs more than 73,000 workers and is being impacted by the high value of the Australian dollar and the economic conditions that “threaten to erode” the manufacturing sector.
The strategy is in response to the report on advanced manufacturing made by Prof. Göran Roos, the appointed Thinker in Residence of South Australia.
Prof. Roos said the success of the manufacturing blueprint will largely hinge on the activity and management of the private businesses, and the Government’s ability to ensure that policies and regulations are consistent to ensure a stable economy.
“So while the challenges for manufacturing will continue, it’s now more important than ever that we continue our collaborative relationship with industry, the research and education sectors and persevere in the face of adversity,” Prof. Roos said.
Tom Koutsantonis, Minister of the Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, said that the report only amplified the need to design new approaches to identify structural weaknesses and pursue innovative strategies to transform the Australian manufacturing industry into globally competitive powerhouse.
“We want our manufacturers to withstand unprecedented levels of international competition and emerge stronger – and there’s ample opportunity for that in South Australia,” he said. In order to do this, “We need to do more than just rely on extracting resources to underpin our state’s long-term prosperity and growing advanced manufacturing is the key.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Council will supervise the implementation of the strategy.
Among the key programs in the 10-year blueprint are:
– Mentoring program to be spearheaded by a network of manufacturing executives with extensive experience overseas
– Continuing training for local companies to pursue new business and marketing models
– Using government spending to enable small businesses to become more innovative. This pilot program will only apply for those used in the US and the UK
– Encouraging food companies to cluster in the pursuit of new technologies and opportunities
– Better info dissemination drive so manufacturers would know of available funding and assistance
– Implementing a voucher scheme so companies can link with research providers
– Creating the Mining Industry Participation Office to study future opportunities as well as present policy gaps
– Revising the Industry Participation Policy so businesses can better participate in major projects
The South Australian Premier hopes that the strategy will develop high-tech precincts featuring small businesses and academics clustering together to share their ideas and knowledge for the development of the industry.
“Techport, Tonsley Park, Edinburgh Park, Thebarton, Waite and the North Terrace health precinct are the sorts of business clusters this strategy will support,” Premier Weatherill said.