Manufacturing is a cornerstone of Queensland’s economic future

Monday 21 March, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: manufacturing, Cook Medical, innovation

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says manufacturing remains a cornerstone of the Queensland economy and a key driver of jobs, exports, investments, innovation and productivity.

CCIQ Senior Policy Advisor Kate Whittle said despite its declining share of output nationally, manufacturing is strongly placed as the third-largest sector in Queensland’s economy.

Ms Whittle said the manufacturing industry faced a number of key challenges that required concerted action.

“Manufacturing has a strong future in Queensland. Provided government at all levels collectively focus on the right type of manufacturing and make it easier for existing manufacturers to compete, the manufacturing sector has significant potential to contribute to the continued growth and diversification of Queensland’s economy in a post-mining boom environment,” she said.

CCIQ, in partnership with Cook Medical Australia, tomorrow (Tuesday, March 22) launches the Manufacturing Futures Report, at Brisbane Technology Park.

The detailed report reflects on the current state of the manufacturing industry in Queensland and presents a vision and action plan for politicians and policy-makers on what can be done to create a better environment for one of Queensland’s most important industries.

“It explores the ways in which government and industry can work together to secure a strong future for Queensland’s manufacturing industry in a 21st century economy and make it easier for existing manufacturing businesses to grow, invest and employ,” Ms Whittle said.

“Although it is industry that will inevitably drive our economy forward, government plays an important role in crafting a policy framework that best positions manufacturing businesses in Queensland to capitalise on existing strengths and opportunities and overcome obstacles.

“Governments must focus on developing policies that actively facilitate the emergence and success of a competitive, viable and sustainable manufacturing industry.”

The Queensland Minister for Innovation, Science, Digital Economy and Small Business, Leeanne Enoch, will join CCIQ CEO Stephen Tait and one of Australia’s most successful manufacturers, Barry Thomas, Director of Asia Pacific Cook Medical and Managing Director of Cook Medical Australia, to launch the report.

Cook Medical Australia has been operating for over 35 years and is one of the few manufacturing sites in the world that produces custom-made stent grafts for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Mr Thomas said the importance of the sector warrants more action from a policy perspective.

"Manufacturing may be a key contributor to the economy, but in reality it has the potential to offer much more. Australia has always been an innovative country, but now lacks the ability to compete globally from the manufacturing perspective. Policy doesn't support the commercialisation of local innovations,” he said.

"Far too few advanced manufacturing operations remain in Australia and current policy isn't helping. It's great to work with CCIQ and really focus in on what Queensland can do specifically to support manufacturing here.

"At a national level, Cook Medical has been pushing government for the introduction of a patent box - the Australian Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Incentive - which would see profit from locally developed and patented IP to be taxed at a lower rate.

“This would provide a business incentive to keep operations local and holds the key to unlocking the potential of the sector, ultimately resulting in more Australian innovation."

CCIQ and Cook Medical Australia will provide guests with a behind-the-scenes look at their state of the art facility at Brisbane Technology Park, Eight Mile Plains, including a tour of the planning and support areas, through to the manufacturing floor.

Following lunch, there will be a presentation of the Manufacturing Futures Report findings, together with a Q&A panel discussion.



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