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The New Era of Manufacturing in Moncrieff

9 Nov | '2020

Indeed, this government does agree with the role that manufacturing plays in the COVID recovery. When I discuss with constituents of Moncrieff the new era of manufacturing, they are very supportive of improving Australia’s manufacturing capabilities. It’s also clear that Australians support a bright future for local manufacturing. In fact, nine out of 10 Australians believe that Australia should produce more products locally. Of course, achieving this will require effort and a sustained commitment to that bright future. I’m speaking about the government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy for the new era of manufacturing in this country. I believe in it for the Gold Coast. There are already 14,000 jobs on the Gold Coast directly attributed to manufacturing and the industry is already worth $7 billion on the Gold Coast: So there is bright future for my electorate of Moncrieff when it comes to the manufacturing sector. There are many reasons that a vibrant manufacturing industry is good for Australia, but the main one is, of course, jobs, and that’s what we’re here for: to create jobs for Australians, including those in my electorate of Moncrieff.

From my family history and growing up in South Australia, I know about the importance of manufacturing jobs. It was a Liberal and Country Premier, Sir Thomas Playford, who set up Elizabeth as a manufacturing hub. I see the member for Boothby is in the chamber. She would agree with me that he also set up the Electricity Trust of South Australia and the South Australian Housing Trust to ensure that factory workers could afford to live in low-cost housing.

My parents, my grandparents and my brothers were all recipients of social housing and of those manufacturing jobs at the Elizabeth and Woodville plants of General Motors. My parents had great opportunities, my mother working at Levi Strauss, and created opportunities for my family and indeed for me to then move on. My parents saved up for their very modest first home and then of course extended opportunities for their children—and, of course, me here today as the member for Moncrieff. It all comes back to Premier Playford setting up manufacturing in South Australia.

But, of course, manufacturing jobs won’t be the same as they were for my family growing up. They will be the new incarnation of manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing jobs are changing, not just because of a changing world but also because of the opportunities. Right now we are all acutely aware of the importance of manufacturing for our sovereign capabilities, for defence and for medical supplies in our country, building up capabilities that are vital now and to build resilience for our future.

The changes I speak of today are broader changes to all types of manufacturing in Australia. Manufacturers are already making those changes. The changes are happening at home in Moncrieff. A great example is Patterson Glass in Nerang, in the western part of my electorate. Like so many businesses around Australia, they were reaping the benefits before COVID hit. But, along with 10,400 businesses in Moncrieff, they needed JobKeeper to keep going, to keep their staff employed and, importantly, to keep their business primed and ready to now recover. The confidence gained in keeping the team together is at the heart of the JobKeeper success in Nerang, in Moncrieff, in the great state of Queensland and indeed across our great country.

Patterson Glass are now back on track. The managing director, Marc Wheway, is the kind of business leader that would have kept the business going regardless—he is a great leader—but he knows, as does the Treasurer and the Prime Minister, and as I know as his local member, that we want more than just survival for Australians; we want Australians to thrive. JobKeeper has not only helped survival; it has primed business to bounce back with the speed that would not otherwise have been possible. Patterson Glass previously received a manufacturing modernisation grant to help with their output and to help put on more employees in their business—to increase capacity so that they can have better outputs and put on more employees. The sort of automation that they implemented with their modern manufacturing grant has created those extra jobs, and there are many other things that Patterson Glass are doing.

Whilst those on the other side of the House pine for the good old days, as the daughter, the granddaughter and a sister of factory workers, I want to see results in the manufacturing sector. It is not good enough to provide sentiment and nostalgia, and it’s not good enough to throw away money wildly out the door with no plan. We have a plan.

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