Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Future Made in Australia is pathway to prosperity

22 April 2024

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) rejects the ‘head in the sand’ approach advocated by the Minerals Council over the Federal Government’s proposed Future Made in Australia Act.

Investing in clean energy infrastructure will increase the need for critical minerals like lithium, silica, aluminium, iron ore among others, which are mining industries the Minerals Council represents.

Communities such as Collie in Western Australia, the Mackay and Rockhampton regions in Queensland, and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales have all been identified as areas best placed to benefit from Future Made in Australia.

These regions have the potential to become manufacturing hubs supporting thousands of highly skilled, well paid, clean jobs for current workers, and for generations to come.

We need policies like Future Made in Australia to fast track manufacturing of clean renewable technologies, and to provide guiding frameworks so our workers are trained in the necessary work of the future.

These industries stand to grow significantly in the transition to a net-zero economy. Doubling down on a ‘dig and ship’ economy will leave Australia stranded in the global race for the jobs of the future.

Public money should be spent on high-skilled jobs of the future, not just supporting our legacy industries like coal as market demand declines.

Coal-reliant communities anxiously face the departure of coal from the electricity grid with 90% of coal-fired power stations due to shut down in the next decade.

The Minerals Council should bear in mind that last year our Federal and State Governments provided $57 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel industries. That means taxpayers paid $21,143 a minute for these big companies to operate in Australia. It’s a figure 14 times greater than the balance of Australia’s Disaster Ready Fund which is used to respond to climate disasters.

Quotes attributable to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union National Secretary Steve Murphy:

“The Minerals Council conveniently forgets that taxpayers are already locked into paying for long-term subsidies for multinational mining companies with no end in sight. Each minute we give big multinational companies more than $21,000.”

“If governments can give handouts to multinational fossil fuel companies - we can give a hand up to create the jobs of the future.”

“These big companies deny climate change as a problem. In doing so they deny manufacturing workers a secure future.”

“Australia ranks 93rd in the OECD for economic complexity. Our dig and ship economy has us comparable to Uganda and Pakistan.”

“Lifting the Australian economy up the value chain so that we sit alongside economies like Japan Germany and the UK, will create good unionised jobs in manufacturing, particularly in our regions.”

“Government has a role to play. Transformational industry development carries with it inherent risk, upfront investment and market uncertainty.

We need the government to offer finance and incentives to boost industry opportunities in the clean energy sector. We need strong local content provisions to give preference to creating local jobs over importing our future energy needs. We need the government to invest in the manufacturing workforce by giving them the skills they need to apply for the jobs of the future.”

“We cannot leave it to industry to take charge of the climate emergency. Climate change is already having an impact on our lives, our communities and the safety of our environment.”

“Countries around the world are taking the lead in new clean renewable technologies in establishing new industries in economies of scale, while we remain a quarry, a farm and a nice place to visit.”

Media contact: Sonia Feng 0478 599 580

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