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ALP Manufacturing Focus welcome

"Ai Group welcomes the attention the Federal Opposition is giving to the manufacturing industry and its important role in the Australian economy. Manufacturing businesses employ close to one million Australians," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"It is critical that policies to shape the future directions of the Australian economy are informed with the input of the business community and are shaped to address the opportunities they have before them and the obstacles they face in realising these opportunities. As a leading employer association with a strong presence in the manufacturing industry, Ai Group looks forward to being closely involved as the policy is developed further.

"Key obstacles for businesses including manufacturers are the availability of skilled labour; training systems that are not sufficiently geared to meet the needs of a modern workforce; a lack of the flexibility at workplaces that would allow businesses to respond with agility to build productivity and competitiveness; the cost and reliability of energy compounded by uncertainty about climate policy; a corporate taxation regime that has long lost its competitiveness; and a patchy approach to building Australia's business capabilities.

"At the same time, opportunities abound both in building domestic capabilities, in better linking our businesses with Australia's strengths in research and in leveraging Australia's manufacturing capabilities offshore. The opportunities range from industries of traditional strength, such as upstream manufacturing; food and beverage processing; and the supply of high-quality machinery and equipment and extend to newer areas of specialisation including in medical equipment, electronics, cosmetics, precision engineering and pharmaceuticals," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347