Julia Gillard – Saving our manufacturing sector is possible!
© Roger La Salle
Only a change in Government policy can save our manufacturing sector!
Despite Julia Gillard’s recent commitment to the future of manufacturing in Australia, the fact is that with current policy our manufacturing base is largely unsustainable, except in some key strategic areas where subsidies may be important to maintain some capability. Military application and the like may fall into this category, so too agriculture, if we can categorise this as the manufacturing of food which is essential to our survival.
As for the rest, the future seems bleak under the present government policy.
Innovation can be the solution
Innovation has often been cited as the saviour of Australia’s declining manufacturing base. Indeed we do need to support innovation and the development of new products, technologies, processes and systems but this alone will not sustain our manufacturing sector, as long as present government policies prevail.
Is IP Protection the answer – perhaps!
New products and innovations that are the subject of IP protection can lead to sustainable manufacturing. But ask yourself this question, “why would you manufacture any new product in Australia (or any other product for that matter) when you can make it for much less in China and import it (with little or no duty) then sell it at a much greater profit?
In short it is simply uneconomic to manufacture most items in Australia, and to do so is little more than an act of altruistic patriotism. An obvious answer is to impose duties to protect our manufacturing base, but with both the Labor and Liberal commitment to “free trade agreements” this is unlikely to happen. A different solution needs to found.
One possible solution
If the government were to offer a tax holiday, for perhaps 5 years, on inventions and innovations that are made in Australia it would have a trickle through effect. It would kickstart local manufacturing, create jobs and stimulate and support Australian innovation. The cost to the Government would be negligible and further revenue would flow to government from taxes on employees, reduction in unemployment and the activities surrounding the creation of new facilities to support these new ventures.
The incentive to develop and localise industries with new products would be profound.
Is anybody listening?
I wonder if those in the Government would consider this suggestion for without a drastic change in policy it seems likely that manufacturing in Australia will cease to exist within the next decade.
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Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Roger also chairs two Syndicates of the National organisation, “The CEO Institute”. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com