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Future made with sovereign manufacturing capability

Recent experience has ‘starkly demonstrated’ how the narrowing of Australia’s industrial base has exposed the economy to high levels of risk.

According to Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) CEO Andrew McKellar Australia needs a sovereign manufacturing capability, so focused government attention on meeting that objective is welcome. However, he says careful consideration of the details is needed.

McKellar says the proposed Future Made in Australia Act announced yesterday (11 April 2024) will combine several previously announced initiatives, including the National Reconstruction Fund and energy transition initiatives, under one umbrella.

Addressing the Queensland Media Club yesterday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese highlighted Queensland’s industrial and resources sector in particular given its abundance of critical minerals needed to usher in a carbon-free future, as well as its place in developing Australia into a renewable energy superpower. 

“Because for Australia to seize the opportunities of the next decade, for our nation to generate the energy, skills, jobs, technology and investment that will power our future prosperity. We need every community in Queensland included, involved and empowered,” Albanese said.

“Cities, suburbs and regions alike. We need Queenslanders – everywhere – to be able to access high quality education and training for good secure jobs. We need Queenslanders – everywhere – breaking ground on new infrastructure, building new energy projects and mastering new technologies.

And we need Queenslanders – everywhere – to be part of a new advanced manufacturing workforce. Researching, designing, building and exporting value-added products to the world.

Queensland has always been a great resources state, a great energy state – and a smart state. Its coal, gas and other resources have helped to power our national economy – and so have the ideas and dynamism of its people. Queensland’s role as a resource and energy and innovation state will continue. And it will evolve.”

McKellar says the energy transition offers opportunities which Australia should seek to maximise. 

If the government is to invest in driving emerging Australian industry capabilities, that investment needs appropriate consideration and scrutiny.”

The ACCI stands behind the government’s objective and favours the idea of Australia having a sovereign manufacturing and industrial capability.

“Most importantly, the prime minister’s speech reflects the fundamental importance of boosting productivity and improving competition for our future prosperity. We can’t achieve that without a competitive tax system or by handing more power to trade unions to tie businesses in ever-tighter knots,” McKellar says.

“We see benefit in drawing together those existing threads and building on that to better coordinate and manage the rollout of this government investment. There are significant opportunities in decarbonisation and the energy transition. We should seek to maximise those advantages.

“If the government is to invest in driving emerging Australian industry capabilities, that investment needs appropriate consideration and scrutiny.”

According to the government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, mining companies in Australia are investing in renewable energy options such as onsite solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power arrays. 

Further, portable renewable generation and storage solutions can be used on mining sites as pre-assembled solar racks and shipping container sized storage modules.

Queensland’s resources industry has underpinned the state’s economic development and prosperity for more than a century. Its metals, minerals, coal and gas industries support about 77,000 jobs, mainly in regional Queensland, and royalties from mining companies help pay for services such as schools, hospitals and roads throughout the state.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Global Road Technology & Boss Energy
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.