Matt Canavan speaking about the National Party's plan for Australian manufacturing.
Matt Canavan speaking about the National Party's plan for Australian manufacturing.

Canavan reveals party plan for 800,000 manufacturing jobs

Australian manufacturing jobs could double, Queensland senator Matt Canavan claimed, if a set of National Party policies revealed on Tuesday were adopted by the Federal Government.

Mr Canavan said the manufacturing industry had "been on its knees over the past decade", and 800,000 jobs could be created by 2035.

The suite of ideas is a reaction to an historical decrease in manufacturing jobs, Australia's reliance on imported products, especially those related to public health, and the perception that globally, free trade principles are unequally applied.

It favours government investment in manufacturing, protectionist policies for particular industries, and the continued use of coal and gas power to keep energy prices down.

"We've all seen during the coronavirus how important it's been to have industries that can produce things in the medical field, to keep our food production and food security going, and after the coronavirus we're going to need to have a strong manufacturing industry to recover," Mr Canavan said.

"There's been a long-held view in Australia that we should support international trading relationships. I think we've reached a breaking point in the past 10 or 15 years as China has taken the breaching of international trade rules to another level.

"We've got to have the industry here in Australia to protect our country and make sure we can respond to any increasing threats in our very important region of the world."

Mr Canavan said that although he thought the country's carbon emissions should be reduced, the priority was to "regain our industrial strength".

"We are not going to save the planet from Australia, for a start," he said.

"One or two coal-fired power stations in this country is not going to blow the planet up, especially when other countries are building hundreds of power stations overseas.

"Policies that haven't worked include putting all your chips on renewable energy or hydrogen or these pipe dreams that people like to talk about that don't create jobs."

 

The National Party's nine-point scheme

1. Protect "strategic industries" where subsidies in other countries have an adverse effect on Australia's ability to develop those industries.

2. Promote trade more and grow manufacturing exports.

3. Expand the remit of the Regional Investment Corporation to include new low-cost, long-term finance for strategic manufacturing industries.

4. Create a decentralised Office of Regional Manufacturing with offices in Gladstone and Newcastle with a mandate to achieve specific growth targets in Australian manufacturing's priority areas.

5. Provide tax incentives, including accelerated depreciation, to encourage investment in manufacturing capital, and in research and development.

6. Strengthen Australian Government procurement policies to back Australian manufacturing first.

7. Provide early exposure to trade qualifications and link qualifications with employment requirements.

8. Invest in reliable and affordable energy and in infrastructure that supports manufacturing, including in coal and gas-fired power.

9. Fund exploration to find a new oil province in Australia to replace the Bass Strait.



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