The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union last week welcomed the Federal Government’s interim response to the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Task Force as an important entrée in ensuring Australia remains a country that continues to make things.
The AMWU has been hard at work campaigning for a national plan to put a stop to the flow of job losses since the Global Financial Crisis and last weeks announcement of a Auto-Industry Advocate, establishment of a Manufacturing Leaders Group and vital funding for research and innovation is an important start in putting that plan together, the AMWU believes.
“Manufacturing is fundamental to Australia’s national interest, and today’s announcement comes as part of a comprehensive process of engagement with industry and unions to determine the path forward to a high waged, high skilled, competitive industry,” said Paul Bastian, AMWU National Secretary.
“Australia is, and must continue to strive to be – not only a country that makes things, but makes things well – but that’s not going to happen without a plan and without immediate action that stems the loss of jobs and skills that we have witnessed since the GFC.
“We welcome the Gillard Government’s initial steps, but we know that more needs to be done to secure Australia’s manufacturing base and the nearly 1 million jobs it provides. We note that the Government has committed to providing a full statement early in the new year and we have made it crystal clear that we need to see real action on getting work into our factories now that includes:
• bringing forward infrastructure projects that use local content;
• bringing forward government contracts, like those in defence, to maintain critical jobs and skills;
• giving Australian manufacturers better access to major private and public projects;
• encouraging Buy Australian in government and private purchasing;
• establishing hubs and precincts that bring our science and research closer to our manufacturers and helps us build scale;
• ensuring genuine engagement of workers and driving productivity increases through better management and leadership; and
• funding assistance packages to retain skilled workers in the industry. ” revealed Paul Bastian, AMWU National Secretary.(AMWU).
Paul Bastian also welcomed the creation of the leaders group to make recommendations and provide advice to government about policy that can guide Australia’s manufacturing industry to smarter, more competitive practices.
“The path to a high wage, high skilled and internationally competitive industry is paved with collaboration between workers, their unions, employers, experts and government. We need a collaborative approach that keeps a focus on the higher priorities that have been identified and one that can keep the needs of manufacturing at the forefront of government policy making.
For more information on the Gillard Government’s Interim Manufacturing Policy, please visit http://www.amwu.org.au/