The National Party’s Backbench Policy Committee released its Manufacturing 2035 plan on Tuesday. The plan outlines the National Party’s vision for the manufacturing industry and a broad policy platform to help encourage industry growth.
The paper outlines a 9-point plan with the goal to double the employment in Australian manufacturing, to counter the trend of continuing employment stagnation in the industry. Employment in manufacturing has dropped from its peak employment of almost 1.2 million Australians in the 1990s, down to a new record low of fewer than 850,000.
“We must take radical action to reverse the trend in fewer things being made in Australia. That means reinvesting in our natural energy resources like coal and gas, protecting Australian jobs from unfair overseas competition and giving greater preference to Australian made goods in government contracts” said Senator Matthew Canavan, chair of the Nationals Backbench policy committee.
Other policies suggested in the plan include:
- Task the Anti-Dumping Commission to assess subsidies provided by foreign governments and taking countervailing action to protect Australian industry against such unfair competition,
- Provide tax concessions and low cost finance to investments that will boost Australian manufacturing jobs,
- Introduce a Buy Australian Act that would give preference to Australian made goods in government contracts,
- Increase trade promotion and harmonising skills across the manufacturing sector,
- Build a new coal fired power station and exploring for a new oil basin, and
- Establish an Office of Regional Manufacturing with offices in Gladstone and Newcastle to promote manufacturing opportunities in Regional Australia.
The plan has been developed after extensive consultations with Nationals Party Members of Parliament and their constituents.
“The Nationals Party has a proud record of backing Australian manufacturing. Over 30 per cent of Australians employed in manufacturing live outside the capital cities. The Nationals are fighting for these workers and their hopes for a stronger Australian manufacturing industry. I want to thank all of my Nationals party colleagues for contributing to this plan over the past year.
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the need for Australia to make things here again. Nationals backbench members are proposing this plan to help Australia recover from the pandemic and come out of it with a stronger industry able to confront the economic and security challenges in our region.
“Some of the ideas in this paper challenge longstanding commitments to free trade and the removal of industry protection. But with rising security challenges in our region we must also recognise the priority to back Australian industrial development” said Senator Canavan.
The Nationals Backbench Committee has presented its report to the Nationals leadership.
“The Morrison-McCormack Government has made manufacturing a key priority and we hope this plan can build on the excellent work already being done by the government in this area” said Senator Canavan.