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Issue #1521      5 October 2011

Future jobs forum must focus on manufacturing

Australian manufacturing unions will use this week’s Future Jobs Forum to continue the push for a broad-based agenda to support the domestic manufacturing industry.

In a joint paper to be released on Thursday, the Australian Workers’ Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union will call for:

  • Accelerated depreciation: An accelerated rate of depreciation for resource sector companies – and other sectors such as construction – to write down assets that include a percentage of Australian local content;
  • Local content transparency: Increased transparency from proponents on resources sector projects – including detail procurement processes, the supply chain, the expected percentage of local content and potential for regional development;
  • Clean technology development: Ensuring the Clean Energy Future plan delivers a local manufacturing base, not just a technology and research base;
  • Productivity improvements: A high-level, tri-partite body to coordinate genuine, industry-wide, productivity improvements with a focus on management skills and systems and innovation;
  • Anti-Dumping: Swift and full implementation of the federal government’s reforms to the Australian anti-dumping regime, as well as robust enforcement of the new system.

AWU national secretary Paul Howes said: “We can’t just bury our heads in the sand – we’ve got to face the reality of the manufacturing crisis that is before us.

“Australia is currently facing complex and challenging macroeconomic factors as a result of the mining boom, and these factors are driving clear structural changes to our economy.

“But manufacturing employs a million people, five times that of mining – the mining sector can never hope to replace jobs lost in manufacturing over the course of the boom.

“That’s why the AWU and AMWU are putting forward a practical plan to ease the pinch being felt by domestic manufacturers – focusing on local supply, innovation and productivity, a strong anti-dumping regime and every effort to stem international currency manipulation.”

AMWU national secretary Dave Oliver said the Future Jobs Forum should focus on how to keep to keep manufacturing as the base on which a diverse, sustainable and prosperous economy is able to benefit all Australians.

“If you’re talking jobs, you’re talking manufacturing,” Mr Oliver said.

“Put simply, Australia needs manufacturing jobs if we are to maintain an economic base that provides a high standard of living for all Australians.

“Right now, what Australia’s one million manufacturing workers most want to hear is that the federal government has a plan for the future of their jobs and industries.

“Manufacturing makes an invaluable contribution to training, research and development, employment in other sectors, and local communities. Nobody knows that more than these workers”.  

Next article – Facing facts on the fate of the earth – Review of CPA pamphlet Hot Earth

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