First SA Manufacturing Future Forum tackles loss of state’s auto manufacturing


The first South Australia Manufacturing Future Forum was held last Friday, 15 August, at Mawson Lakes in Adelaide with the aim of drafting an innovative manufacturing plan on how to deal with the imminent $3.7 billion shock to South Australia as a result of the loss of auto manufacturing in the state.

First SA Manufacturing Future Forum tackles loss of state's auto manufacturing
Image credit: flickr user bisgovuk

According to the news release by the Premier of South Australia, the Forum was hosted by State Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation and Minister for Automotive Transformation, Susan Close, and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Manufacturing, Tony Zappia MP.

“I want to see car-making survive in this country, not just survive but flourish,” the Prime Minister said during a press conference in Brisbane on 21 August 2013.

“It is almost a year to the day since Tony Abbott made a solemn promise to Australia’s automotive manufacturers. Far from helping the industry to flourish, in one short year the Abbott Government managed to goad GM Holden to cease manufacturing, causing a devastating ripple effect throughout the automotive manufacturing supply chain that will be felt for generations to come. Then, rather than supporting the sector’s transition, it is ripping $900 million from the Automotive Transformation Scheme, leaving the sector in crisis. Labor is not prepared to stand by and watch manufacturing go down the gurgler in South Australia – and that’s why today is a tremendous opportunity to forge a plan for the future prosperity of this state and its workers,” Senator Carr said.

Nearly 100 attendees at the Forum had the opportunity to participate in the discussions regarding the available types of support as part of the South Australia Government’s $60.1 million Our Jobs Plan and Manufacturing Works strategy. Manufacturers from all sectors discussed how they are affected by government policies and what are the main challenges, opportunities and policies that can help them to adapt and innovate.

“If the Australian manufacturing industry is to survive and flourish, as promised a year ago, the Commonwealth needs to roll up its sleeves and lend a hand. If not, I fear that our local suppliers will struggle to keep going until 2017, rather than having the time they need to diversify into new products and markets. South Australia is playing its part to support transformation with Our Jobs Plan but a transition of such magnitude within a four year time frame needs much more Commonwealth support,” said Dr Close.

About 13,000 jobs will be lost after automotive manufacturing ends in SA in 2017.

“We believe there is a future for manufacturing in South Australia. South Australian businesses clearly face challenges from a strong Australian dollar and intense global competition. When I speak with local manufacturers the message has been clear – they expect the Abbott Government to play a more significant role in assisting the transformation ahead of the departure of an industry that they chased out the door,” said Mr Zappia.