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‘It’s wrong for us to be totally reliant’: Calls to reinvest in Australian manufacturing

Chris Smith

As Australian manufacturers respond to the coronavirus crisis by producing additional protective equipment, there are calls to rebuild the sector and end Australia’s dependence on imports.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews tells Chris Smith she’s committed to pushing for investment in manufacturing through the lens of pandemic response.

“I think what the coronavirus has proven to us is that it’s wrong for us to be totally reliant… on supply chains that come from overseas.

“The positive thing that’s come out of this is a demonstration that we do have a very strong manufacturing base, and that they can pivot.”

However, access to raw materials and Australia’s high wage economy will create significant hurdles for industry.

Chris pointed out pharmaceuticals, which are predominantly imported from India, as an example.

“We have to be prepared as a society, to pay a lot more money for our medicines than what we do now,” he said.

“One thing that came out [from discussions with the manufacturing sector] very clearly was that we couldn’t just compete on cost, we had to start competing on value,” the Minister responded.

“We have to start looking at where our niche areas are.”

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Image: Getty

Chris Smith