House Committee tables report on advancing Australia’s manufacturing landscape

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The House Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Resources has presented its comprehensive report titled “Sovereign, smart, sustainable: Driving advanced manufacturing in Australia” in a push to reinvigorate the nation’s manufacturing sector.

Rob Mitchell, the chair of the Committee, stressed the urgency of reversing the historical decline in manufacturing, dating back to the sixties.

He asserted, “Now is the time to turn that around and set Australia on a course to becoming globally competitive in advanced manufacturing.”

Addressing the outdated notion that Australian-made products cannot compete with foreign alternatives, Mitchell highlighted the transformative potential of advanced manufacturing processes, particularly Industry 4.0 technologies.

He argued that with these advancements, Australian manufacturing can not only be globally competitive but excel, even on cost.

The report highlighted success stories of Australian manufacturers already thriving in global markets, particularly in high-value-added niches.

Mitchell then pointed out that these successes are rooted in factors such as research and development (R&D), quality, safety, and trust rather than attempting to undercut competitors on price.

“We heard that Australian manufacturers are already succeeding in global markets in high value-added niches, where they can compete on R&D, quality, safety and trust rather than being two cents cheaper than the competition,” he remarked.

The bipartisan report encapsulates 10 key recommendations aimed at bolstering manufacturers’ access to investment capital, enhancing R&D commercialisation, fostering industry-research collaboration, and addressing workforce and skills shortages.

Among the recommendations is the proposal to establish a National Advanced Manufacturing Commissioner, a strategic role designed to champion the cause of advanced manufacturing at a national level.

Additionally, the report suggested the creation of government-owned common user facilities in innovation precincts and the expansion of successful Industry 4.0 capability development programs, especially tailored for small and medium-sized businesses – the backbone of Australia’s manufacturing landscape.

For those interested in delving into the specifics, a copy of the report is available on the Committee’s website.