World-class manufacturing key to virus recovery: business

Coca-Cola Amatil group managing director Alison Watkins welcomed the inclusion of food and beverage and recycling in Mr Morrison’s plans, outlined in a pre-budget speech to the National Press Club.

The Prime Minister said those areas, as well as resources and critical minerals, medical products, defence and space should be priorities for Australia.

“We look forward to participating in developing the plan for the food and beverage sector,” Ms Watkins said.

“We would also urge the government to continue with further action to help boost productivity, including investment in skills training and reforms to workplace relations and tax.”

‘We need big ideas’

SPC chief executive Robert Giles said the announcement was good news for the food manufacturer and other players in his industry.

“We are confident that measures like this will ensure Australian manufacturing will become an enticing investment for the private sector to help turn companies like SPC into global businesses.

“We need big ideas like this if we want to see real change in our country. SPC has had the plans to become a global player in the global value-added food industry. Such strategic thinking initiative is what is needed and welcomed to make these plans come into reality.”

The Australian Academy of Science welcomed a new focus on research and development, as well as increased collaboration between manufacturing and the nation’s scientists.

Secretary for science policy David Day said Australia needed a comparative advantage, as well as a competitive one.

“Business investment in manufacturing R&D has been declining in the last decade from almost $5.5 billion to $4.6 billion, so this new investment into revitalising Australian manufacturing, supported by Australian science and technology, cannot come soon enough,” Professor Day said.

Labor was less than impressed with the government’s announcement, accusing the Coalition of neglecting Australian manufacturing for seven years.

“COVID-19 has exposed this government made a grave mistake and that Australian manufacturing is vulnerable to global supply chain shocks,” opposition industry spokesman Brendan O’Connor said.

“They’ve spent seven years attacking and undermining Australian manufacturing, goading Australian car manufacturers to leave our shores and now they want Australians to believe they support manufacturing – what a waste of years of economic growth and taxpayers’ money.”

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