House debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Questions without Notice

Manufacturing Industry

2:06 pm

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry and Science. What is the Albanese Labor government doing for the Australian manufacturing industry so that it can generate secure, well-paid jobs? And is this plan threatened by any recent developments?

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order, members on my left!

The member for Hume.

The member for Groom is now warned because he has been continually interjecting within five minutes of question time. I give the call to the Minister for Industry and Science.

2:07 pm

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Industry and Science) Share this | | Hansard source

Thanks to the member for Paterson, who knows the importance of manufacturing to regional communities. I appreciate the question. We went through this seismic event with the pandemic, where we discovered that the things we needed most weren't there at a time we needed them. We realised we were dependent on a couple of countries for all these goods that get imported, and we recognised that our supply chains were completely dependent on them. We thought, at that point in time, that we, as a country, had learned that lesson and that we would commit to do better. Australians recognised that we have to be a country that makes things, that modern economies need strong manufacturing capability if they're going to keep going on into the long term and that manufacturing matters because it generates full-time, secure, well-paying jobs.

That is why, with all that in mind, the Albanese government have committed to one of the largest investments in Australian manufacturing capabilities in peacetime. The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will look at priority areas—value-added resources and value-added agriculture, low-emissions technology manufacture, transport, medical sciences and, importantly, critical technologies that will be important to give the economy edge longer term. It will be independently run with an investment mandate, looking at delivering a return to the taxpayer, building capability—and not a colour coded spreadsheet in sight! Politicians will not be making the call. The investment decisions will be made in the national interest, not in political interests.

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Industry and Science) Share this | | Hansard source

Given all of that, what happens? The 'no-alition' roars back to life—the unreconstructed Tony Abbotts with, no doubt, their 'national un-reconstruction fund' in the wings there! There they are, wanting to say no to growing the economy, wanting to say no to growing jobs, wanting to say no to Australian manufacturing and wanting to stop that longer-term benefit that's required. These are criticisms from a bunch of people who brought you sports rorts, brought you regional rorts and spent, in the weeks leading into the election, manufacturing grants. They're interested in manufacturing only when it manufactures a vote. That is the only time they're interested. We're being lectured on transparency, when they had a secret industry minister in their ranks—and they're telling us we should be transparent! I mean, please—it is a joke. We will do what's right for this country. We will make sure manufacturing is revitalised. We'll do the right thing. (Time expired)