Ai Group welcomes federal government call for more manufacturing

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox has welcomed the federal
government’s call for a greater emphasis on manufacturing to reboot the
Australian economy.

Willox said manufacturing had gained
unprecedented public and political attention in recent weeks. He
believes the shortage of vital equipment has raised an important debate
about Australia’s management of global supply chains.

“We have learned hard lessons about over reliance on single sources of imports,” Willox said.

“We
need to… ensure we strive towards excellence in what we do – including
by aiming to leverage that excellence through exporting and supplement
self-sufficiency with other strategies that build resilience.”

Willox
said a national imperative of building resilience will require more
rigorous management of the risk of supply chain disruption in individual
businesses, as well as coordinated guidance and direction from all
governments.

Skills and energy are the two biggest challenges that remain for local manufacturing, according to Willox.

“We
need to focus on strategies that support the most vulnerable and
hardest hit such as youth and apprentices who have suffered a
disproportionate loss of jobs,” he said.

“Our apprentices have
been one of the hardest hit groups with 15,000 apprentices and trainees
either stood down, suspended or cancelled since March 1.

“Strategies
to commence, continue, and re-engage apprentices should be at the
forefront of government and business recovery efforts.”

The Ai
Group’s latest Performance of Business Index recorded its lowest levels
of activity in the survey’s history at 27.2. This was due to the rapid
deterioration in business conditions across all sectors of the economy,
particularly in consumer-oriented services.

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