The Guardian August 2, 2000


"Make it here or jobs disappear"

"Make it here or jobs disappear" was the call from a rally of hundreds 
of Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) members at the NSW 
Premier's office last Wednesday.

Addressing the rally, ACTU President Sharan Burrow accused the Howard 
Government of "waving the white flag" on Australian jobs.

"Almost daily we hear stories of manufacturing plant closures and job 
losses. This year in Victoria alone almost 1200 jobs have been lost due to 
plant closures", Ms Burrow said.

Ms Burrow pointed out that the Howard Government had an appalling record 
when it came to supporting Australian industry, especially in the field of 
research and development.

During Howard's term in office, $1.5 billion has been cut from research and 
development, and $5 billion slashed from education and training.

"Australian manufacturing needs a government that is prepared to plan for 
the future and stand up for Australian jobs. An industry plan, and a fair 
and balanced set of global rules are essential for a productive future 
where working people get a fair go."

The AMWU also called on the support of State Governments to legislate a 
requirement for Australian content in all government projects and services.

One AMWU worker was critical of Bob Carr's non-attendance. "It was 
disappointing that a Labor Premier could not take time out to attend a 
union rally.

"The Olympics should have been a great opportunity for NSW industry, yet 
they allowed such a large percentage of materials and equipment to be 
imported. It's a shame on all the Australian Governments."

The AMWU workers were supported by their comrades from the CFMEU, who had 
taken time off from their conference to attend, and many other unionists.

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