Queensland Made: CCIQ welcomes commitment, not the rhetoric

Friday 10 November, 2017 | By: James Flaherty

CCIQ has long advocated for the strength, capacity and capability of Queensland’s manufacturers and has today welcomed the Premier’s commitment to manufacturing, but not the populist rhetoric that accompanied it.

General Manager of Advocacy, Kate Whittle, welcomed the announcements made today “Manufacturers are hurting due to rising operational costs, specifically energy and once you lose an industry it is hard to get it back. Programs which will provide opportunities for manufacturers to plug into the global supply chain are welcomed.”

“On the flipside, CCIQ was disappointed to read Labor’s comments regarding free trade agreements.

“Free trade agreement benefit large sectors of the Queensland economy, particularly our cattle and agricultural exporters who are reliant on exporting high quality Queensland produce to the world.

“We understand the politics, but in reality, anti-free trade sentiments read as myopic, unproductive, and populist.

“Queensland 16,000 manufacturing businesses contributed almost $20 billion to the Queensland economy in 2015/16.  Over 90% of those businesses are small businesses and, like us, they will welcome the Premier’s commitment to providing an additional $70 million to the Building our Regions program.”

CCIQ also welcomes the move to create defence hubs in Queensland. “The dedication to create Defence Hubs in Queensland will play to industry strengths and we encourage State politicians to work with Federal members to secure defence contracts.” said Ms Whittle. “However, further detail on how these hubs are to be created and maximized for full benefit must be provided as soon as possible so that it can be clearly defined and executed”.

However, CCIQ believe that both sides of politics can still do more before the election to support Queensland’s manufacturing industry.

“Today’s announcement is not a silver bullet. Multiple factors contribute to establishing ‘level playing field’ and industry support and assistance isn’t a cure all.” said Ms Whittle.

“We have some fantastic manufacturing businesses in Queensland, such as 5th generation Packer Leather, award winning Audeara, a Brisbane based start-up and Field Orthopaedics and Cook Medical, both on the cutting edge of medical device manufacturing.”

“Reports of Manufacturing’s death have been greatly exaggerated” says Ms Whittle, “however a little help will go a long way and some of these policies will help manufacturers thrive in Queensland.”

“CCIQ welcomes the commitment of a further $20 million to Made in Queensland, a grants program which includes aims to boost the manufacturing industry. However, Queensland small businesses compete against low wage and low taxing economies, as well as nations with lower business operating costs and it is operating costs, particularly energy prices, that are really hurting manufacturers, particularly in regional Queensland.  

“Manufacturing businesses are typically more exposed to the volatile nature of the electricity market and small business manufacturers have told me they are being driven offshore, they need immediate electricity price relief.”

Other factors inhibiting manufactures in Queensland include:

  • Declining output
  • Strong domestic and international competition
  • High input costs
  • Changing consumption trends and new tech
  • Workforce size and skills

CCIQ also welcomes the re-announcement of a dedicated Minister for Manufacturing which was promised at the last election and never delivered. CCIQ would ask that a re-elected Palaszczuk Government add this ministry to the portfolio from day one. 

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