House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2021


Lindsay Electorate: Manufacturing Industry

7:35 pm

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The space industry is ready to launch thanks to the Morrison government's backing of Australian manufacturers. As part of our $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, we are delivering grants to priority sectors where we have an advantage or that are of strategic importance. These include resources technology and critical minerals processing, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space—which is the first priority sector now open for grants under our plan to support manufacturers to scale up and to create more jobs. Space is not only more than the eye can see; it is more than what we might expect. From technology helping emergency workers plan bushfire recovery and farmers managing their crops to advances in automation, robotics, engineering and satellite technology, the Morrison government's investment in the space industry will result in new applications that will improve our lives here on earth.

In my electorate of Lindsay, we have over 600 manufacturers, and they are proud manufacturers employing over 6,000 people in fields including fabricated metal products, equipment and machinery manufacturing—areas that are crucial to the development of our national space sector. We're also working closely with businesses to develop our long-term strategy in this sector because they have the hands-on experience. They know what they need and we will deliver the support so that they can grow, expand, take on pressing challenges and ultimately create more local jobs. This is why manufacturing is so important. As we embark on our economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, we are getting behind the industries with the ability to create more local jobs.

I recently launched a survey across Western Sydney, and particularly in my electorate of Lindsay, to see what matters most to our community when it comes to backing Australian manufacturing. The first priority among respondents for our national manufacturing priorities was the resources technology and critical minerals processing sector. The resources sector represents half of Australia's exports and directly employs over 260,000 people in Australia while supporting more than one million other jobs across the economy. Between February and November last year, employment in this sector grew by 8.5 per cent, creating over 20,000 new jobs, and this growth trajectory is expected to continue.

To unlock new resource potential and productivity and maintain our status as a world-leading supplier of resources and energy, we must educate and train our kids with the skills they need to take the jobs of the future. That's why I established the Lindsay Jobs of the Future Forum and the Advancing Manufacturing Taskforce, bringing leaders in education together with industry so that we can create local jobs for local people in these emerging industries. Skills in STEM—science, technology, engineering and maths—will be vital in developing a strong local workforce in fields such as space and advanced manufacturing.

This is a journey that begins with encouraging kids to get involved with STEM at an early age, showcasing the possibilities open to a career in STEM fields in high school and even starting before that, in primary school, so they are equipped with the skills they need to get through either TAFE or university—whatever they choose to do. I have seen this firsthand, and I would like to acknowledge the great work that gets done across our local schools, including at Samuel Terry Public School, where I have seen STEM in action with the kids there, and also at Jamison High School.

The $5.3 billion investment into Western Sydney international airport, the Aerotropolis and the Sydney Science Park, which is in my electorate of Lindsay, will bring more manufacturing, science, engineering, IT, agriculture and business opportunities to Western Sydney. In the heart of Western Sydney, we will be home to a world-class science city that clusters and integrates leaders in innovation and industry, that brings researchers and education providers together from right across our community. This is why I am fighting so hard to ensure that our kids now are getting trained in the jobs of the future, so they can take all the opportunities that are coming with the airport. This is very much our priority in Lindsay, and our manufacturing strategy is our priority right across Australia.