On Tuesday 19th May, SEMMA convened an online round-table discussion to gather input to our submission to the COVID 19 Review Senate Committee. Feedback from recent meetings with State Government MPs has been an increased need to hear from industry to provide input on their needs and help shape the roadmap to post COVID-19 recovery. Members were invited to contribute their thoughts on the actions and policies necessary to creating a resurgent Australian manufacturing industry.

 

The manufacturing sectors represented included:

  • Sheet metal fabrication
  • Component engineering
  • Laboratory equipment
  • Insulation
  • Plastic sheet extrusion
  • Recycling
  • Electronics
  • Hydraulics
  • Paper Products
  • Feminine hygiene

 

 

Peter Angelico, SEMMA President, chaired the meeting with the following participants:

  • Vonda Fenwick, SEMMA CEO
  • Ray Keefe, Successful Endeavours
  • Leo Dreissen, Norden
  • Simon Whiteley, Corex Plastics & Recycling
  • Matthew Arblaster, Asaleo Care
  • Ian Cubitt, Catten Industries
  • Markus Oswald, o.d.t Engineering
  • Andrew Rowe, Fletcher Insulation
  • Gordon New, Ronson Gears

 

 

Members who were unable to participate on the day but submitted their written input included:

  • Geoff Cuberes, Ezypole
  • Ken Stuart, Redline Engineering
  • Gerard Suttie, PMG Engineering Services

 

Each participant was given the opportunity to present their main thoughts with the meeting then opened to discuss in further detail. The central concerns on the discussion included:

 

Focus on Local Content & Compliance 

  • Desire for framework & policy concerning government bodies procuring Australian Made equipment and products
  • Review of the Defence Export controls which create significant delay to overseas customers and distributors
  • Suggestion of a pre-approved list of products which can be sold overseas to streamline the defence export process
  • Requirement for using Australian design standards for domestic projects as opposed to imposing the European standard, which causes significant cost and time to upskill workers to this standard
  • Concern for lack of local content auditing and artificially inflated percentages
  • No consistency or framework around local sourcing

High Cost of Energy

  • Introduction of energy policy to support manufacturers
  • Cost of energy remains high for manufacturers who report the costs being on par with or ceding wages

Review of Industrial Relations

  • Review of EA’s for business which can cause distraction be unproductive for businesses
  • Modification of Free Trade Agreements to support local manufacturing

Lack of Skills and Training

  • Lack of skilled labour (including but not limited to concerning high-speed robotic equipment) and low participation rates in available training courses
  • Framework for growing skills

Increased Focus on Collaboration

  • Focus on developing partnerships as opposed to transactional relationships
  • Collaboration between businesses can help weather crises as well as add a boost during prosperity

Focus on Local Jobs

  • Desire for extra investment in support for local business
  • Development of a clear plan from both State and Federal government to ease industry out of COVID-19 conditions, resulting from concern of hard cut-off dates for support such as Job Keeper program
  • Lack of local capacity in strategic areas of the nation, as recently highlighted by a shortage of available medical supplies
  • Great desire to be able to design and create critical infrastructure to Australia domestically, notably in areas of medical ICT & telecommunications
  • Review of payroll tax and the cost of employment; large support for recent Payroll Tax rebate

 

SEMMA will continue to actively pursue these matters with Government representatives on member’s behalf in upcoming meetings.

If your organisation would be interested in participating in future industry round table discussions, please email vonda@semma.com.au.

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