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Manufacturing Taskforce created to move industry towards bright global future

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On 6th October 2011 Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced her intentions to form a Manufacturing Taskforce to ensure that an active approach is followed by Australia’s government and manufacturing industry, in order to make its mark in this era of intense globalisation and economic uncertainty.   

The Prime Minister expressed a strong intention for the working group to report on and finalise its goals by the end of the year.  The project is progressing rapidly, with the line up of this taskforce being announced on October 19th and a first meeting scheduled for November.   

Ferret takes a closer look at the details of the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce.  

What is the Manufacturing Taskforce?  

It is a group of 23 representatives made up from members of the government, major industry companies, unions and leaders in science and technology, tasked with mapping out a vision and pathway for the future of manufacturing.  

What is the main aim of the Taskforce?  

The work group has been formed with the intention of helping to ensure that manufacturing is supported and remains an integral part of the Australian economy, in order to see the manufacturing sector move up the value chain.  

How will the Taskforce achieve these aims?  

Miss Gillard has described how important it is to tackle this urgent task with a whole-of government approach.  The working group will initially look at the potential of furthering existing industry efforts, including those undertaken by the Future Manufacturing Industry Innovation Council as chaired by Kim Carr.   

Key issues that the Manufacturing Taskforce will be considering include: how to encourage increased development of skills and innovations in the industry to best release the potential of Australia’s resources; how to best facilitate opportunities for Australian producers in local, government and international projects and; how to optimise on opportunities provided by the growing Asian economy, the resources boom and increasing globalisation.  

Already Senator Carr has announced that project proponents must provide evidence of presenting equal opportunities for Australian companies to bid on major Government supported projects, especially if they wish to take advantage of the 5% relief that currently applies when using imported goods.  

Who are the members of the Manufacturing Taskforce?  

The taskforce is being chaired by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, with Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr as her deputy.  The rest of the line up is as follows.  

Government representatives:

The Hon Wayne Swan MP, Deputy Prime Minister,
Senator the Hon Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations,
Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation,
The Hon Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade, and
The Hon Jason Clare MP, minister for Defence Materiel.  

Manufacturing industry representatives:  

Mr Philip Binns, Vice President and General Manager of Agilent Technologies ,
Mr Geoff Plummer, CEO of OneSteel,
Mr Ian Thomas, President of Boeing,
Ms Heather Ridout, CEO of AiG,
Mr Mike Devereux, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden,
Mr Chris Jenkins, MD of Thales, and
Mr Phil Butler, MD of Textor Technologies.  

The Unions are represented by:  

Mr Jeff Lawrence of ACTU,
Mr Paul Howes, National Secretary of Australian Workers Union,
Mr David Oliver, National Secretary of Australian Manufacturing Workers Union,
Mr Michael O’Connor of CFMEU,
Mr Charlie Donnelly of NUW, and
Ms Michele O’Neil of TCFUA.  

Science and technology representatives:  

Professor Roy Green, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Business,
University of Technology Sydney,
Dr Megan Clark, Chief Executive of CSIRO, and
Professor Jonathan West, AIRC, University of Tasmania.  

Ferret and the rest of the manufacturing industry are looking forward to reports from the initial meeting, and learning more about opportunities, changes and the implications for the future practices of the industry.

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