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How Australia’s advanced manufacturing industry can fuel the country's growth



Manufacturing is critical to a modern Australian economy. It is a vital part of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and our economic growth. Manufacturing is key to almost every supply chain and adds value more than any other sector across all industries.


Australian Manufacturing directly employs approximately 860,000 people, and indirectly supports the employment of an additional 1.8 million Australian workers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Manufacturing generated more than $100 billion in value annually for the economy, with over $50 billion in exports


Successful manufacturers are innovation leaders – companies that use specialised skills, advanced manufacturing, and R&D investment to develop products with distinctive value. These manufacturers know that the strength of the product depends on investing in the development of cutting-edge products and technologies.


With the development of tech, Industry 4.0, automation, robotics, science, R&D, and some amazing Australian business owners, Australia is able to develop some of the best products in the world as well as export into other markets. Industries such as food & beverage, fabricated metal products, medical products, defence, space, primary metals, recycling, and clean energy are just some of the growth sectors that employ hundreds of thousands of Australians. Importantly, the Australian products that are purchased support Australian jobs and the overall growth of the economy.

Some examples of Aussies supporting Manufacturing include Anthony Pratt of Visy building a 99-million-dollar automated facility in Melbourne in 2019, creating 85 new highly skilled jobs, and the purchase of Australian and New Zealand glass manufacturing business off American company Owens Illinois (O-I) in a deal worth almost A$1 billion in July 2020 – one of the country’s largest-ever manufacturing acquisitions.


Other success stories include Andrew Forrest’s recent purchase of RM Williams this year, reshoring jobs that are currently overseas back in Australia. Bega Cheeses returning the iconic Australian brands such as Big M, Pura, Farmer Union back into Australian hands in Jan 2021 from Lion. Pipeconnex developing the Australian first one-step plastic pipe extruder completing their first facility production line that recycling 5,246 tonnes of plastic each year into pipe products.


Advanced Manufacturing has never been more important to Australia’s future. The Australian Government and all the State Governments are all actively supporting the industry’s growth. The Morrison Government’s 2020–21 budget allocated $1.5 billion for Modern Manufacturing Strategy, on top of the R&D tax rebate, EMDG Grant, and the uncapped instant asset write-off.


On a state level, the states are also actively supporting projects that are of benefit to the economy, with job creations and export growth a priority. In addition to this, the government’s purchasing looks to buy local which is critical in ensuring the money stays within the country – after all, the Government saving 15% on a project where all the prosperity and opportunity goes offshore and creates jobs in another country would in reality lead to a net loss for the Australian economy.


At their best, Governments create a climate in which companies can fulfill their potential, and with continued support and grant opportunities as the Australian economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to be an advanced manufacturing company operating in Australia.

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