Australia has a proud history of manufacturing, with home-grown innovation that has made our economy one of the most prosperous in the world.
We have seen our nation’s resourcefulness throughout the ages, starting with our indigenous people, the very first Australians, who made a host of goods from the natural environment, such as tools, weapons, instruments, jewellery, artwork and textiles (1).
The migrant settlers brought their skilled labour to our shores and helped a growing Australia diversify its workforce. This accelerated during the Industrial Revolution from the late 1700s to the early 1900s that saw the rapid development of industries, including those connected to mills, agriculture, transport and communications (2).
Even in the modern era, our pioneering spirit has showcased the best of Australian innovation to the world. These ground-breaking inventions have revolutionised their industries, including the black box flight recorder, spray on skin for burns victims, electronic pacemaker, ultrasound scanner, medical application of penicillin, electric drill, Wi-Fi technology, cervical cancer vaccination and the cochlear implant (bionic ear). (3)
Australian manufacturers are doing it tough in today’s marketplace. Competition from cheap imports, skyrocketing rents, online businesses and the high costs of legislative compliance mean that the manufacturing sector faces many challenges.
It the goal of Rise Up Australia to help our manufacturers better compete globally and stop the ‘brain drain’ to overseas interests. This can be achieved on many levels including a renewed approach to trade relations, taxation reform and targeted incentive schemes.
Rise Up Australia is committed to developing a wise system of tariffs that create an ‘even playing field’ for Australian manufacturers.
Part of this is recognising that other countries might create goods at rock bottom prices due to low wages, child labour, limited or non-existent industrial relations safeguards and OHS regulations that put workers lives and livelihoods at risk.
We want to support or re-establish all sorts of manufacturing industries that ‘value-add’ and provide high technology jobs with a range of national system economic policies, such as those advocated by the former Deputy Prime Minister John McEwen.
With the goal of protecting Australian industry, Mr McEwen was the architect of the high tariff policy and was the key figure in negotiating Australia’s international trade agreements throughout the 1950s and 60s. This era saw significant improvements in Australia’s import-export ratios and the diversification of its markets for wheat, wool, beef, iron ore and bauxite in Japan, USA, China and the Eastern European Communist bloc (4).
Recent governments have sacrificed the strength of local manufacturing at the expense of attracting overseas investment. However, we believe that with the right system implemented the two can co-exist without being detrimental to our national interests.
To support the growth of small business and help reduce the unemployment rate, we want to reduce prohibitive red tape and abolish payroll tax which, in effect, punishes a business for employing a worker.
It is our aim to work strategically towards the dismantling of all unjust taxes, levies, duties, charges and imposts. This includes the notorious Carbon Tax that was introduced under the Gillard Labor Government to place a levy on the carbon content of fuels (5). The intention was to discourage high emissions but instead has proven to be an ineffective and unfair tax.
This tax has forced some businesses to move their operations off shore and contributed to our unemployment rate. It has placed an unfair levy on Australian-based industry, discouraged investment in the resources sector and increased our already-high electricity prices. The Carbon Tax will be abolished in a nation governed by Rise Up Australia.
4 Small Business Incentives
Creating incentives for small business and encouraging investment in local companies will also solidify our nation’s economic prospects.
There is no quick-fix, but a measured, consistent approach that listens to industry feedback and identifies where the system is failing our manufacturers will turn this situation around. Our proposed taxation reforms will be instrumental in this process.
In addition, government support services such as those that link local manufacturers to overseas markets; mutually-beneficial flexible employment arrangements for working parents; and subsidised return-to-work schemes for welfare recipients to take up skilled apprenticeships are all vital in this process.
Let’s get down to business and protect our national interests. This is only possible by acknowledging the challenges facing Australian manufacturers, reforming our trade and taxation system and introducing incentives to encourage innovation and investment. It’s time to Rise Up Australia.
1 National Museum of Australia, retrieved 15 August 2013, http://museumex.org/oai/nma
2 ‘Linking a Nation: Australia’s Transport and Communications 1788-1970’, Australian Heritage Commission, http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/commission/books/linking-a-nation/chapter-1.html
3 ‘World changing Aussie inventions’, Australian Geographic, 18 June 2010, http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/world-changing-aussie-inventions.htm
4 ‘Prime Ministers of Australia: John McEwen’, National Museum of Australia, retrieved 15 August 2013, http://www.nma.gov.au/primeministers/john_mcewen
5 ‘Gillard Unveils Carbon Tax Plan’, 7 News, 26 June 2013, http://au.news.yahoo.com/election/a/-/article/16697555/july-1-2012-gillard-unveils-carbon-tax-plan/