MAY 11, 2020 – The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) welcomes Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s focus on revitalising Australian manufacturing and investing in infrastructure as part of a COVID-19 recovery strategy.
“This crisis has demonstrated the importance of having a domestic manufacturing industry” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.
“Manufacturing has been vital to get us through this crisis, with firms retooling to provide essential medical supplies like masks and ventilators. We cannot return to an economy solely reliant on tourism and exporting raw materials in the wake of this crisis. We must support Australian manufacturing, and we welcome the vision of the Federal Labor Party outlined by Mr Albanese today”, Mr Bastian said.
Mr Bastian said that government investing in infrastructure to get the economy moving again was “absolutely the right thing to do.”
“We need to fill up the factories with work as soon as possible. The best way to do that is for the government to invest in nation-building infrastructure.”
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the dangers of hollowing out our manufacturing sector and becoming reliant on long international supply chains.
“For decades, governments have chosen to send manufacturing jobs offshore to the cheapest bidder. We welcome Mr Albanese’s recognition of the damage this has done to manufacturing communities across the country, especially in regional areas”, Mr Bastian said.
“We strongly support Mr Albanese’s call to build Australian-made trains and invest in high speed rail. We need to build back better from this crisis. Governments spending taxpayer money here at home, buying and building locally and supporting Australian jobs, Australian businesses, and the Australian economy just makes sense”, Mr Bastian said.
Mr Albanese also spoke of the need to better commercialise scientific research, and invest in skills and training.
“A well funded TAFE and Vocational Education and Training sector is vital for Australia’s future. We’ve lost a lot of our sovereign capability through successive decades of neglect. To create the highly skilled workforce that will be essential to rebuild our manufacturing capability, we must invest in TAFE as Mr Albanese said”, Mr Bastian said.
“The Federal Government should take Mr Albanese’s suggestions on board as they chart a course forwards through this crisis”, Mr Bastian said.