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Does manufacturing in Australia have a future?

article image Professor Robert Manne, La Trobe University

Forty years ago, a quarter of Australian workers were employed in manufacturing industry. Today the figure is less than ten per cent.

As manufacturers across the country continue to battle crippling costs, La Trobe University has posed the question – does manufacturing in Australia have a future and if so, what does it look like?

On Wednesday 3 September 2014, a panel of experts in the fields of economics, industry policy and trade unionism will attempt to answer the question at La Trobe’s intellectual forum for debate, the Ideas and Society Program.

Professor Ross Garnaut, Professor Roy Green and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Dave Oliver will discuss the current climate in manufacturing along with Ideas and Society Program convenor, Professor Robert Manne.

"In recent times the three most important car manufacturers - GMH, Ford and Toyota - have announced their decisions to stop manufacturing in Australia," Professor Manne said.

"The impending closure of the Australian car industry has raised the question in many minds: does manufacturing have a future in Australia?

"Professor Ross Garnaut, one of Australia's most prominent and respected economists, will outline general economic difficulties facing the manufacturing sector.

"Professor Roy Green, the leading expert in the field of Australian manufacturing policy, will outline the present and future possibilities. Dave Oliver, Secretary of the ACTU, will examine the sector from the perspective of the workforce and the positive role it can play in securing its future."

La Trobe University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Jane Long will chair the discussion.

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