Australia is last in OECD for manufacturing self-sufficiency

Pandemic shows massive problems in relying on others for our manufactured goods.

Made in Australia wood engraving

Australia is the least self-sufficient economy in the developed world.

A new report from The Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work ranks Australia last among OECD countries for manufacturing self-sufficiency – the volume of goods manufactured versus the volume of manufactured goods used.

Australia produces two-thirds as much manufactured output as it consumes, while most other OECD countries produce more manufactured goods than they consume.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of product supply chains and Australia’s reliance on imports, amplifying calls for a boost to local manufacturing.

“Australia has one of the most underdeveloped manufacturing sectors of any industrial country in the world,” report author and director of the centre Jim Stanford told ABC News.

“Most other industrial countries have manufacturing sectors that are successful and large enough to, in aggregate, meet their own domestic needs for manufactured products.

“In Australia's case, however, we're using more manufactured goods all the time but we're producing a smaller and smaller share of those.

“I think there is a mistaken assumption that if you're a rich, high-wage, industrial country, you just can't do manufacturing. After all, it's much cheaper to do things in China or Thailand or some other low-wage country.

“We found that traditional assumption is absolutely false.”

In the late 1980s, manufacturing was the biggest employer in Australia, with 16.5 per cent of the workforce.

Now fewer than one million people work in the sector, accounting for 6.4 per cent of jobs.

Manufacturing's contribution to GDP peaked in the late 1950s and into the `60s when it was just shy of 30 per cent. Now it has shrunk to about 5.5 per cent.

Total employment in the sector has dropped by 9.6 per cent since 2010, the report shows.

Dr Stanford estimates that increasing Australia's manufacturing self-sufficiency to 100 per cent could add another $180 billion a year in new manufacturing output, boost GDP by $50 billion a year and add more than 650,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“I think it's a pragmatic and ambitious goal to try to rebuild manufacturing in Australia back to a level that's comparable to our own need for manufacture,” Dr Stanford said.

He wants Australia to stop relying on the export of minerals such as lithium, which could be made into value-added products.

“About two-thirds of all world trade consists of manufactured products, so if you don't have a strong domestic manufacturing base, you're shutting yourself out of most world commerce,” he said.

Vonda Fenwick, chief executive of the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA), is one of the voices urging more support for Australian manufacturing.

“If you look at any economically successful country in the world, you're looking at a country that's got a healthy, robust, industrialised sector; you've got a country that's manufacturing.

“It simply makes sense for us to be really sticking to those policies, making sure that we're buying locally, making sure that we are mandating local content requirements to ensure that we're providing work for manufacturing.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Bastian told the AFR he welcomed the report, and boosting manufacturing jobs was necessary to lower unemployment after the pandemic.

“The idea that we are moving to some sort of ‘post-industrial’ economy where manufacturing is irrelevant is nonsense. Almost every job requires manufactured goods,” he said.

“Manufacturing is a growing industry globally, and demand for manufactured goods is increasing here in Australia. Growing Australia’s manufacturing sector so we make as much as we use will create hundreds of thousands of high-wages, high-skill secure jobs.”

Former AFR deputy editor Greg Earl has outlined his vision for boosting manufacturing. He says domestic manufacturing can help fill the gaps in the supply chain created by COVID-19 restrictions and the federal government can create policies to “help build the nation’s economic resilience”.

He says a competitive manufacturing industry requires a “stable energy supply and a bigger focus on science and technology in Australia’s education system” and supports the decision to review all foreign investment, calling it “one of the most wide-ranging increases in foreign investment regulation in the world”.

“It underlines how greater scrutiny of foreign investment could play a big role in domestic economic resilience.”

He says building stockpiles of “designated strategic equipment” such as personal protective equipment should be part of an economic security plan; the government has already boosted the strategic oil reserve.

The government has taken direct action during the pandemic to increase production of surgical masks and pay for special cargo flights to support exports of perishable food products to Asia. But a long-term solution is required to ensure ‘economic sovereignty’ in Australia.

Mr Earl is concerned that Australia’s trade dependence on China “is greater than with any country since Britain in the middle of last century”, and some companies with ‘just-in-time’ supply chains are vulnerable.

“Rebuilding a competitive manufacturing industry in Australia won’t succeed without some basic foundational changes. These range from a greater focus on science and technology in the education system to a more stable energy system, possibly through domestic gas reservation.

“Then there are even broader issues, including industrial relations to improve worker flexibility and new approaches to tax such as cash-flow taxation to encourage investment.”

Do you think Australia needs to become more economically self-reliant?

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    COMMENTS

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    Buggsie
    4th Aug 2020
    10:30am
    Successive governments, mostly LNP at the federal level, have actively discouraged manufacturing in Australia, preferring instead to rely on globalisation of industry, which in practice means " the cheaper the labour costs the better", and to hell with sensible policies of self sufficiency, fair trade and decent wages and working conditions. We are in poor shape - the car manufacturing capacity is gone, any worthwhile invention made here is sold overseas to the highest bidder rather that being used to establish new industries that will increase our national wealth and provide continuing employment for futiutre generations. We are now totally dependent on selling our land and natural resources through mining. What happens when they are all gone and we find that our country is majority owned by foreigners? Do we then learn Chinese languages? A huge policy shift is needed now, before it is too late. The current unstable economic circumstances provide the ideal stimulus to make this change - come on Canberra, get your heads out of the past and work towards a more sustainable and self sufficient future.
    Chat
    4th Aug 2020
    10:37am
    Well said Buggsie!! I agree wholeheartedly.
    arbee
    4th Aug 2020
    1:53pm
    You have to be joking, the unions are by far the biggest contributors to the death of manufacturing in Australia. They just kept on demanding more and more until all of their members lost their jobs and are now making coffee for a living, and the unions also lost their members at the same time. IF WE ARE TO HAVE MANUFACTURING HERE THEN WE HAVE TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. YOU CANNOT EXPECT THE GOVERNMENT TO PROP UP EVERYTHING.
    Crazy Horse
    4th Aug 2020
    10:39pm
    That's just nonsense. Other countries with high wages and strong unions have strong manufacturing sectors. Germany is a good example. In Germany, company boards have worker elected representatives sitting on them. German wages are comparable with Australians yet their manufacturing sector is not being destroyed.

    What is the difference? It's simple. German politicians didn't fall for the neo-liberal nonsense that has beguiled Australian politicians for a generation. No German politician would dream of telling manufacturers to go offshore like the fools running this country have.
    arbee
    4th Aug 2020
    11:41pm
    Crazy horse makes crazy comment, fits the name.
    Viking
    5th Aug 2020
    9:57am
    In my experience bad management begets bad unions and we have a history of attrocious industrial management in this country. If this were not the case the foreign investors would not be lining up to take over so many Australian companies in the belief that they can manage them better.

    If you want a current example of poor management poor unions you only need to look at the building industry where we have high levels of corruption and corner cutting with developers not unusually with government ministers in their pockets, even murders amongst them, builders frequently declaring bankruptcy only to reopen the next day under a different name, tower blocks crumbling but the developers, builders and government inspectors nowhere to be seen and the unions are the bad boys in all of this? Arbee which planet do you live on?
    Horace Cope
    4th Aug 2020
    10:45am
    "Do you think Australia needs to become more economically self-reliant?"

    To do this requires some changes and a clue is in part of the statement by Greg Earl which says "“stable energy supply and a bigger focus on science and technology in Australia’s education system”". We have a very high cost structure which includes electricity costs and there are those who would want coal and gas fired power stations to close and be replaced by renewable energy. This will remove the base load power so important to the continuation of power supply which is critical to manufacturing. The CEO of the Tomago aluminium smelter is on record saying that a battery will power the smelter for 8 minutes.

    As to the education system, Labor changed the laws forcing students to complete the higher school certificate and therefore, by inference, downgrading technical employment if favour of university education. This has resulted in thousands of students with university degrees being unable to find employment and making them too old for an apprenticeship. It's apprentices that are the backbone of industry and Australia has a huge shortage of apprentices.

    To reinvigorate manufacturing in Australia we need cheap electricity and this can only be supplied by the building of coal or gas fired power stations. We have to stop listening to the fringe groups who want to cripple Australia with wild ideas about how climate change is all man-made and unless we change everything that the world will end in 2030. Yes, there is climate change and man has a small part of the reason but nothing man can do can stop the climate changing. We need to start training more apprentices and perhaps governments need to subsidise wages for them. Those wishing to take up an apprenticeship could be identified in early high school and the curriculum for them could include TAFE as a part of their education.
    Tanker
    4th Aug 2020
    11:14am
    The privatisation of our energy supplies is the major reason our energy costs are so high. The electricity system is largely owned by overseas interests due to this. Given that energy is essential to our whole existence and our control of that has been seriously weakened why wasn't that considered before the big sell-offs?
    It was largely the LNP that privatised our energy due to ideological reasons and the rest of us have been paying the price since and into the future.
    I came to Australia in 1965 and then the Unions were pushing for more apprenticeships but that was falling on deaf ears. A small point here is that apprentices benefit from a good secondary education and in a high technology the technicians and trades people require a high level of education in that field. Trades people can be smarter than a lot of Uni graduates and I speak from experience.
    The major problem has been one of attitude in that trades are dirty work and less fulfilling than an office or other type of clean work. Yes in the trades clean hands can be a rarity but the work can be very fulfilling and in fact more important to the country than many office jobs. Do we really need more lawyers?
    Because the Universities now have to operate as a business, thank you LNP, they need to fill their courses and manipulate the courses on offer depending upon the profit margins of each. They will never admit but that is a fact.
    Australia has been turned into a mining, agricultural and service economy which is incredibly short sighted and the obvious drawbacks to that are now being seen.
    Horace Cope
    4th Aug 2020
    11:37am
    Really Tanker? On 14th December 2010 the Kristina Keneally Labor government sold the state's electricity retailing assets for A$5.3 billion.
    In Australia, universities are self-accrediting institutions and each university has its own establishment legislation (generally state and territory legislation) and receive the vast majority of their public funding from the Australian Government, through the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
    arbee
    4th Aug 2020
    2:06pm
    Tanker, (and the name is apt), you are a typical left wing type who has never got their head out of the sand to have a look and see what really is happening. Our energy problems are wholly due to the green lobby pushing unreliable power supplies on to us. The unions may well have been pushing for more apprenticeships, but it was labour governments that closed down the tech schools and declared everyone needed to have a University education. Now we have tens of thousands of students with degrees in things like humanities etc. who will never get a paying job. Of course most of them don't want to work anyway, especially if it means getting their hands dirty. Your whole post revolves around government paying out in every direction, but just where does all this money have to come from, increased taxes of course, which in turn reduces employment. The socialist experiment has never worked anywhere else in the world and it certainly wont work here. Of course it works in China, but if you don't conform it is either a Gulag for re-education, or a bullet in the back of the head.
    Tanker
    4th Aug 2020
    3:47pm
    arbee it has been shown that Humanity Graduates are better paid with more job opportunities than many of the vocational type course graduates.
    I suspect your knowledge of how countries political systems work is somewhat limited.
    Lookfar
    4th Aug 2020
    5:17pm
    Horace, it is normal for you to come from the right wing old testament Liberal side, almost word for word, but on this issue, that is the side that has constantly pushed us to where we are today. - what gives?

    Like wise the conservative belief system that claims coal fired power cheaper is another sure sign of your total misunderstanding, - all over the world, but particularly in America, the system which Australia basically copied, the coal industry has diminished year by year to such a state that it is now a joke, - Moodies won't even give them credit on the coal they have in the ground because they, Moodies, don't believe it will be dug up, and this despite every environmental constraint removed and very generous support from Trump.
    it is not logic to believe that generators that require no fuel, eg. wind, solar, tide, etc, are going to cost more to run than generators that have to have coal dug up or gas fracked every minute of every day.
    Australia has planned comprehensive renewable generation and storage for quite some years now, all it needs is for the Govt. to get out of the way.
    Incognito
    5th Aug 2020
    2:04am
    I agree with you Lookfar, we are ready for renewable energy, only Government is holding it back because they are getting too many donations from the coal, gas and oil industry.
    Those dinosaurs who think we should keep dirty coal, gas and oil going should look at the data and see what is happening all over the world, renewable energy is taking over and Australia is falling behind, we have a real opportunity to be a part of this which will create more jobs and clean up our air, those living near coal powerstations or near railway lines that carry coal have more health issues especially children.
    Mondo
    4th Aug 2020
    11:03am
    Absolutely we should rebuild our manufacturing industries for a whole range of reasons. Not only will it create greater pride in what we do, far more so that winning at some non-productive game of kicking a ball around a field but it would increase our national security, create greater wealth to bolster us against future national disasters, reduce mental health issues and youth problems by providing meaningful work and career paths. There's little point in studying science and advanced mathematics if the only advanced jobs are overseas The same applies to allowing our industrial crown jewels to be bought up by foreign companies. The sales price may be a one time bonus but we lose control over the future decision making (eg the motor companies and all those which have chosen to close down and import) and ongoing profits of those companies not to mention the opportunities of aspiring to the top jobs in those companies.
    We produce some of the highest quality raw material in the world and its a tragedy and indictment on the shortsightedness and incompetence of successive governments that we export these as just unprocessed commodity products. The public need to play their part too- we have to decide what's cheap about a product when it deprives family and community members of productive jobs and endangers the security of the country.
    BrianP
    4th Aug 2020
    11:27am
    You need and expect certain qualities to lead a country. For example take one quality such as being able to make sound policy decisions that will provide a healthy economy and benefit our people.

    Our so-called leaders have failed miserably for decades. They must accept responsibility and adapt to change. All leaders of our nation must be able to create policies that take account of long term implications. If you look into what they have done so far with "free market" approach it is obvious they benefit themselves at the expense of most people in Australia.

    There are plenty of us who saw this coming but the government took no notice.
    Johno
    4th Aug 2020
    11:28am
    Unfortunately common sense is not all that common! Especially when LNP policies are all about making the wealthy richer with the belief the "trickle down" effect will help the not so fortunate. Has it worked? Not when 116,000 people were homeless in the Census of 2018. Currently 3.24 million people live below the poverty line including 774,000 children. Disgraceful for a developed country like Australia. We need politicians who can see and plan beyond the next election! I don't think they make them anymore!!
    arbee
    4th Aug 2020
    2:07pm
    Then go live in communist China, they deserve you.
    Tanker
    4th Aug 2020
    3:43pm
    arbee a typical response prompted by political bias. What on earth has China got to do with Johno's post?
    Justsane
    5th Aug 2020
    1:38pm
    Johno. It is unbelievable that the trickle down theory has become so prominent in our politics/economics. I think it is based on gravity, where everything goes 'down' towards the Earth. But this only looks 'down' to us because we are on the Earth and everything else looks 'up' to us. What a stupid basis on which to run an economic system. The fact is that smaller objects 'fall' towards larger objects. In the same way, the wealth of poorer people ends up in the hands of the rich. It never works the other way around, that is, giving money to already rich people, and expecting it to 'trickle down' to the poor.
    Wake Up
    4th Aug 2020
    11:41am
    Don't expect change anytime soon we are the SMART country after all
    Oma
    4th Aug 2020
    11:41am
    Surprise, surprise Liberal governments especially have been selling off our manufacturing every time they have been in power. Just because they can make the decisions doesn't mean they can do that without our permission. If you buy manufactured products cheaper you get what you pay for. Cheaper labour and cheaper materials mean that you will get lesser quality products. Cheaper labour also means that someone somewhere is not being paid what they are worth and in substandard conditions. This pandemic is a perfect opportunity for Australia to extract the digit and recreate the great manufacturing country we used to have when we used our own materials and created great products with people who were skilled and prepared to work honestly for an honest wage. A great story from an Italian shoemaker we met on a clunker train in Italy demonstrates this perfectly. He makes expensive superb italian shoes in Italy. He took his shoe to China because labour is cheaper there. The shoes he was shown after asking them to make a sample was identical to his original sample and he ordered a great number to be made. When he went back to check and receive his order he said they were not even good enough to sell at Wallmart (his words). Instead of spending 3 months in China and 9 months a year with his family in Italy he now has to do this the other way around. You get what you pay for.
    Horace Cope
    4th Aug 2020
    3:01pm
    No, Oma, cheaper labour does not mean that someone somewhere is not being paid what they are worth and in substandard conditions. We were in Thailand when the Nike factory closed because some do-gooders claimed that Nike was using slave labour. The person to whom we spoke said that it was a very sad time for Bangkok because Nike was paying well over the local pay and there were better conditions than most workplaces in Bangkok. Sure, the pay by western standards was low but locally there were lines around the block of locals who wanted the high pay on offer.
    Youngagain
    8th Aug 2020
    7:21pm
    I was abused for buying bathroom ware from Thailand. The abuser claimed that if everyone stopped buying products made with cheap labour, wages would rise. Maybe! But a lot of folk would starve to death in the interim! My purchase fed a family for a year. Sure, it would be better if that family were paid the rates we pay in Australia, but reduced sales simply mean less food for struggling families in foreign countries. It's sad that Australia can't compete with Asian, African and South American nations where wage rates are much lower, but there is no easy answer to the problem now. Politicians sold us out a long time ago, and sadly they were supported by a population of consumers that wanted more diversity and lower prices.

    No, Oma. You do not get what you pay for. You get what the creator of a product chooses to deliver. You pay what the creator deems the product is worth. Often, that means you get a great product for a very low price. Generally speaking, I have found that if you are reasonably selective, you can buy high quality product from outside Oz far cheaper than you can buy even mediocre product in Oz. That's a sad state of affairs, but it's because we demand such high wages and in many areas, we fail the efficiency test. If we want to revive our manufacturing sector, we have to get much, much smarter. We have to reduce wages and improve efficiency. Or else we have to impose high tariffs, which invites retaliatory restrictions and hurts our exports.
    Old grey
    4th Aug 2020
    11:51am
    If all OECD countries produce more manufactured goods than they use, where does the excess go to? Better that we (as a country) focus on the main items we use (and develop strategies to make thee items more affordable), rather than leap to the conclusion that we have to be self sufficient in exerything.
    Julian
    4th Aug 2020
    12:18pm
    I note with interest that neither the article nor the comments mention the Lima Agreement which was signed in 1975 by Don Willisee of Labor and has been since supported by both sides of government. There's no point in blaming either side in this case; both have been complicit.

    The agreement could be heralded as the birth of globalisation. The rest is you know what...
    mogo51
    4th Aug 2020
    1:24pm
    Julian, well done, somebody finally the real issue. When Australia and many other western countries signed up to that pathetic UN agreement, the death bells began to ring for our manufacturing industry and it has continued to near extinction.
    But there is still a candle burning and regrettably it has taken CV19 to make people sit up and smell the Roses.
    The economy is in tatters and we need new blood, new ideas and strongly determined government to make 'Australia great again'!!!
    Where are they hiding, certainly not many in Canberra.
    Mondo
    4th Aug 2020
    2:47pm
    The Lima agreement wasn't signed by anyone, it was voted on and it had no treaty or legal basis whatsoever and was not binding on Australia or any other countries. However while Labor was in power at the time of the vote it is worth also reading http://gwb.com.au/gwb/news/lima/foreign.html where it states inter alia: "Indeed, in 1966, long before the Lima Declaration, Australia led the world in conferring concessional tariffs to imports to Australia from developing countries under the Australian System of Tariff Preferences (ASTP)."
    If I recall in 1966 Australia had an LNP government led first by Rupert Menzies and then by Harold Holt.
    What is interesting is that on the (international) internet open to virtually all countries, with the odd exception the only complaints about the Lima Agreement appear to be from Australia. As it had no legal, binding or treaty force it can therefor be assumed that with the exception of Australia most other countries see it as a bit of a non event.

    By contrast however, Australia did sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change but we don't seem to be taking that as seriously as the Lima Agreement which was not signed and has no current validity in any case.
    Tood
    4th Aug 2020
    12:48pm
    The first thing we need to do is regain control of electricity and gas; lower prices for the public and manufacturing; otherwise you can whistle dixie
    mogo51
    4th Aug 2020
    4:35pm
    For sure.
    Viking
    4th Aug 2020
    1:21pm
    Typical LNP industry policy inaction. The government has industrial, supply, self sufficiency and unemployment problems smashing them in their face and what has our industry minister said and done about this? Who is she, anyone remember her name from her last appearance? We have a PM who is happier watching grown men chase a ball around a paddock than watching products roll off our production lines. True to form they have appointed a mining CEO to head up our industrial manufacturing renaissance so that indicates who their party paymasters are and what outcomes the government wants. Why would they need this mining CEO to head up industry if the minister was earning her keep?
    Jim
    4th Aug 2020
    1:41pm
    We keep looking for people to blame, either it’s the politicians fault or some overseas owned companies or some greedy individuals that want to condemn us to serfdom to make them even richer. Do we ever look at our spending habits, have a look around the average home and see what is made here, you will find very little that is made in Australia, and somehow we find ways to blame others and we look back in time to claim our rich manufacturing heritage, when was this time, my memory must be fading, I can recall clothing factories starting to closing down in the 60s because we could get cheaper products from emerging countries, India, Taiwan, Vietnam etc, electrical goods came from Japan in the late 60s then later from South Korea. We did have a strong car manufacturing industry the two main ones being Holden and Ford, both overseas owned companies, we have always considered Holden to be our car, I read a report many years ago that stated Ford returned more of its Australian profit back to the Australian manufacturing industry than Holden did, I don’t know if that was true! Consumers must accept some of the blame for the fall in our manufacturing industries, the market for overseas manufactured goods didn’t happen overnight, and it couldn’t happen without the consumers preferring the cheaper imports, you can still buy Australian made goods and surprisingly they are not that much more expensive, I bought a lounge suite recently that was made in Sydney it came with a 10 year warranty, I bought some pine coffee tables that were made in the Illawarra area, sadly that’s about all I can lay claim to. Maybe instead of looking for some one to blame we could look locally for the things we need, who knows the glory days might come back.
    arbee
    4th Aug 2020
    2:09pm
    Very well put, Jim, but most of tghe left wing socialists on this page will disagree with you, because they want everything for nothing, and if they can't get it given to them, then only at the cheapest price
    Mondo
    4th Aug 2020
    3:01pm
    Jim I agree with you to a large extent. However, I believe more responsibility should be placed on the manufacturing industry and retail (so called) industry too. I recall at the time of the 'changeover from Australian to foreign made products picking up products from stands which stated "proudly made in Australia" only to find on the label it was made in China or elsewhere. When I questioned the price of the Chinese item at the same price I used to for the locally made product I was told, 'no they are still the same price!' The fact is that consumers had little choice in buying Australian at a slightly higher price because of the upstream greed. Now we have no choice for most items.
    Jim
    4th Aug 2020
    4:13pm
    Yes Mondo I know where you are coming from, I can’t recall the exact year, but we were having a buy Australia campaign, I went to Bob Pollards in Wollongong with the intention of buying one of these new fangled micro wave ovens, in keeping with the Australian theme I requested an Australian made one, the sales lady told me it would cost an extra $50 So Imsaid ok. It must have been in the days when sales people were allowed to lie to you, I broke the plastic rotating ring, when I went to get a replacement I was told it would take about 3 months to come from Japan, I told her no this micro wave was made in Australia, she just laughed and said it may have been assembled partly in Australia, we don’t make things like that here.
    Eddy
    4th Aug 2020
    4:22pm
    Jim, while I am philosophically opposed to arbee there is a lot of truth in what you write. I would suggest the big push, by both political parties, for free trade agreements during the 1980s and 1990s up to the present day was a primary driver of the demise of our manufacturing industries. All 'free trade' did was expose our manufacturing industries to cheap labour in third world countries. I recall one manufacturer lamenting he could not compete with Korea or Taiwan when he had to pay for such luxuries as an 40-hour week, penalty rates for overtime or weekend work, workers compensation, health and safety, annual leave, long service leave and company taxes; costs with which his overseas competitors did not have to deal.
    Jim
    4th Aug 2020
    5:08pm
    Yes Eddy, I remember doing a quote for yieldable arches for the New Zealand mining industry, the quote was for a 5 year contract, I was told by management to cut the quote to the bone to ensure we were competitive, wages were not really that much of an issue, wages made up approx 5% of the cost, energy was not an issue, the steel for the arches was going to be supplied by our local steelworks ( AIS ) this was about 1984/85. North Korea put a quote in, their total quote was less than our transport cost and we live next door. Obviously their quote was heavily subsidised by the Korean government, making it impossible for us to be competitive, naturally NZ went with Korea. I don’t think this was an isolated case.
    Jim
    4th Aug 2020
    5:58pm
    Apologies I meant South Korea, not North Korea I know very little about North Korea.
    Incognito
    5th Aug 2020
    2:08am
    Good on you Jim for making an effort to buy Australian made, you can go to the Australian made website to find more items to buy.

    https://www.australianmade.com.au/
    Karl Marx
    4th Aug 2020
    2:08pm
    I had been involved in manufacturing all my working life & have seen the steady decline due to cheaper imports, cheaper manufacturing overseas etc. Look at our textile industry for an example. The big stores will not even contemplate buying Australian made etc when they can go to China, Bangladesh, India & pay far less for the same garment even if it does come at a price of the slaves in sweatshops.
    We need to start re-implementing tariffs & duties for imported good so local manufacturers are able to compete on a level playing field. Prices may increase but maybe only slightly & the benefit to the local economy with employment etc would be to the benefit not only to the locals but also to governments at all levels.
    One of the worst things this & overseas governments did & are still chasing are trade agreements that never ever benefit Australia. We all remember the tariffs on new vehicles that came into Australia especially from Japan in the late 50's & 60's that helped make our car manufacturing industries viable, but now they closed shop & every vehicle now is made off shore.
    We also need to take back certain industries & again make them public instead of these entities making large profits then taking the money off shore etc which in the long term has very little benefit to the Australian people & local economies.
    A pity our politicians on both sides just don't get it. Or do they & they just keep dancing to the overseas pipers
    Wake Up
    4th Aug 2020
    5:08pm
    It wouldn't be our fixation with property porn that makes us uncompetitive would it.
    House hold debt is the highest in the world due to the high cost of just putting a roof over our heads. So blame who ever you like Unions Government but the reality is when investors see better returns from property than in a manufacturing business we will still be buying Chinese.
    baza18
    4th Aug 2020
    5:26pm
    This all originated with the Lima Agreement which we agreed to take part in in 1975 under the Whitlam Govt. Alright, it seemed a very noble cause to send 30% of our manufacturing off shore with the technology, then buy products back from these under developed countries to pull them out of poverty, apparently Gough Whitlam though it was the right thing to do. Maybe we could have weathered losing 30% of our manufacturing along with the associated jobs but people got greedy & thought mmm this is a good idea, we will move off shore too. Because of greed, another thing that has destroyed this country it has blown out to 98% of our manufacturing gone along with the jobs. Most of our infrastructure & technology has gone now so it would be very hard to start things up again but now would probably be a good time to try
    Wendy HK
    4th Aug 2020
    5:36pm
    This is ridiculous!! We could and should be making everything we need RIGHT HERE!!
    pedro the swift
    4th Aug 2020
    8:06pm
    Don't know why you worry, Come ww3 and we will have to start making our own toys.
    Incognito
    5th Aug 2020
    1:49am
    Australia only consumes a third of the food it produces, and yet we still see so much food being imported mainly in packaged form, if people went back to eating wholefoods grown in Australia, not only would they be healthier it would be better for the economy and instead of the money going to mulit international large corporations that own the packaged food industry the Australian farmers would be better off.
    We also have the opportunity to be the leaders in clean energy, and hydrogen fuel too.
    Our reliance on other countries will be our undoing if it keeps going the way it has.
    Viking
    6th Aug 2020
    10:07am
    I agree Incognito!
    Viking
    5th Aug 2020
    10:15am
    Today we had a first class example of how far down the drain Australian industry and family resilience have travelled. As Victoria the most industrialised, virtually only manufacturing State in the country goes into lockdown our Prime Minister declared the most important industry to be protected was - childcare. Now I always thought in the PMs eyes football was the most important non-industry, certainly the most protected so this came as quite a shock.
    Jaz
    5th Aug 2020
    11:25am
    Ever since the Lima agreement was signed in the 70's our successive Government's have systematically been transferring our manufacturing industries overseas and instead importing far far too much to our country's detriment. This pandemic has proven that we have been stupid to do this and it now needs to stop and we need to once again make our own for our own. Also why oh why have governments been intent on selling off our land, water and businesses to overseas interests when they do not allow us to do likewise in their country. I'm afraid that if push comes to shove everything owned by them will be used for them and we will be left without what is actually ours. Come on Government do what is best for Australia NOT the rest of the damn world.
    Hairy
    5th Aug 2020
    8:57pm
    Well said Buggsie Australia for Australians.
    Hairy
    5th Aug 2020
    8:59pm
    I Agree Viking .
    TinTin
    6th Aug 2020
    10:41am
    Well said Jaz, I totally agree.


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