House debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economic Recovery

2:57 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's plan to chart Australia out of the COVID-19 pandemic is supporting our manufacturing sector to grow more jobs?

Photo of Christian PorterChristian Porter (Pearce, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member, particularly for his support of manufacturing in his electorate. Despite the challenges of COVID, and despite the pandemic and the difficult conditions it has brought about, exports of Australian manufactured goods were up by $800 million in the June quarter of 2021. That is 8.3 per cent on what was before it a very difficult quarter in May 2021. That is a remarkable outcome, showing the resilience of that sector and its importance to Australian employment and to the economy as a whole. Over that same period the operating profits of the manufacturing sector were $38 billion, in the year to March 2021. That's 8.5 cent of the total profits of all Australian industries across the country. That is a remarkable effort, showing remarkable resilience during COVID.

That is why the Morrison government is backing Australian manufacturing through COVID and to achieve on the other side of COVID with the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy. That strategy is particularly focused on six areas of comparative advantage and strategic importance—the six National Manufacturing Priorities—as they have been showing the potential to deliver enormous job growth. Those critical areas of focus show not only the ability to grow jobs domestically but to expand domestic production into global supply chains.

The sector that I want to talk about today is the medical manufacturing sector. That sector already contributes $5.5 billion to the Australian economy; it supports over 46,700 jobs; and, with the growing demand for health care and advances in customised and precision health care—those being coupled with digital technology—it shows enormous potential for growth.

We've just announced five medical product companies that will share in $36 million in funding. One of those amazing companies is Noumed Pharmaceuticals, and they'll use their Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant to fund an $85 million manufacturing facility in South Australia. That will create 250 construction jobs and 180 ongoing positions. Forty million units of tablets, liquids and creams that are all currently manufactured offshore will now be manufactured in Australia. That's everything from cold-and-flu tablets and painkillers to topical creams and prescription and life-saving medications. Noumed will also have a strong focus on research and development. It'll create job opportunities across the workforce for scientists, pharmacy graduates, logistics experts and engineers. And, importantly, what it will do is create manufacture into supply chain fragilities that we saw open up during COVID. So we've had a grant—supply chain fragilities and export leveraging. (Time expired)