Premier Barnett urges Government to move past car industry fiasco and concentrate on mining components production


The Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has made a recommendation at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting between Federal MPs and State Premiers that the Government should look to replace the car manufacturing business with manufacturing for the resources sector.

QCLNG First modules Image credit: flickr User: BG Group
QCLNG First modules
Image credit: flickr User: BG Group

The meeting was held in the aftermath of Holden’s decision to quit all manufacturing activities in Australia and move abroad, stirring a wave of discussions in the business sector.

According to an article featured on ABC, Mr Barnett recommended that the Government should focus its attention on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, even though nearly all components for it are made overseas, mainly in Asia.

He said it was meaningless to point fingers over the collapse of the car industry and that the Government should instead look at what can be done for the recovery of the Australian manufacturing industry.

“There’s no point blaming governments, blaming workers, blaming unions, blaming the mining industry or blaming the high dollar. What we are seeing is a significant structural change in the Australian economy, and the discussion should be about where to from here. We need to take up those areas where Australia has a clear natural advantage.”

Mr Barnett points out gas and minerals processing and development of chemicals as areas that put Australia at an advantage over its competitors.

“Look at, for example, LNG projects. There is no reason at all that the sophisticated modules for gas production cannot be constructed in, say, Victoria or South Australia, where there is an engineering and manufacturing capacity,” he said.

“The blame game should stop. The horse has bolted, and I think we need to have a mature relationship about where are the future manufacturing jobs in Australia. They’re not necessarily in the mines themselves, but we could be making components and modules.”

In conclusion, Mr Barnett said that by the end of the decade Australia will be the biggest LNG producer in the world, and that the country should focus its efforts to capitalize on the fact, rather than ignore it.