Monday, 24 February 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. How is the Morrison government delivering on its balanced plan to support Australian manufacturers to remain competitive and create jobs, and how does this compare against the risk of alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Robertson for her question and acknowledge her as a champion of manufacturing in her electorate. Her electorate, like many electorates right across Australia but especially those in regional Australia, has a very strong manufacturing base—businesses like Chamberlain Australia, which manufactures garage door openers in West Gosford. Chamberlain Australia has received support and mentoring from the federal government to help them grow their business. In the last financial year alone their revenue increased by 11 per cent, to $52.8 million, and they're now aiming to grow sales to the Middle East from $2 million to $10 million by the end of this year. I would be very confident that they didn't just pluck that figure of $10 million out of the air having no idea how they were going to get there; they would have worked through how their business was going to expand, how their businesses was going to grow. That's because most businesses—in particular, small and medium enterprises—understand that you actually have to have a plan and a way to get to where you want to be, not just make a big announcement at the end.
Labor is always putting out doomsday media releases that talk down Australian manufacturing, but the fact is that total manufacturing exports have increased by almost $1 billion in the year to December 2019, and that's close to a 10 per cent increase in 12 months. We are continuing to back Australian manufacturing businesses. We announced the $160 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund. This fund is going to help our small and medium manufacturers to grow, upgrade and upskill so that they can continue to compete globally and create local jobs for us.
Manufacturing businesses are certainly benefiting from our balanced plan to manage the economy, to reduce taxes, to cut red tape and to keep energy prices down. When I speak to manufacturers across Australia, the single biggest issue that they have is the cost of their inputs, particularly the cost of energy. It is one of their most significant issues, and those opposite are only promising that they're going to increase energy pricing. What they have offered is an uncosted, headline-grabbing policy. This is a policy offering from the Labor Party. What have they delivered in the past for us? They have delivered pink batts, Green Loans, 'cash for clunkers' and the carbon tax.