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A Country that Makes Things: Supporting Australian Manufacturing

March 31, 2021

The Australian Workers’ Union welcomes the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund announced by Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese yesterday to help rebuild Australia’s manufacturing industry.

The fund comes partly in response to AWU campaigns in support of Australian workers and manufacturing over foreign imports.

“Australia must be a country that makes things, that has its own industrial and manufacturing capabilities,” Mr Albanese says.

“We need to revive our ability to make world-class products and, in the process, create secure
well-paid jobs for Australians.”

The $15 billion in capital provided through the National Reconstruction Fund will support
projects that create secure well-paid jobs, drive regional development, and invest in our
national sovereign capability, broadening and diversifying Australia’s economy.

The AWU has also secured further commitments to Australian manufacturing at the Labor National Special Platform Conference yesterday.

These policy commitments will see a future Labor Government provide a stronger future for Australian manufacturing by supporting:
● Procurement policies to support Australian businesses and workers.
● More support for Buy Australian programs.
● Policies that maximise and require local-content on future renewable energy projects.
● Local manufacturing of vital goods such as food, medicines, water, communications, energy, personal protective equipment and other necessities.

Tony Callinan, AWU NSW Branch Secretary, says the public is fully behind the idea of the government being more proactive in supporting Australian manufacturing jobs.

“Manufacturing jobs are generally jobs that you can support a household with, the types of jobs AWU members rely on to feed their families,” Mr Calllinan says.

“If you have a job in manufacturing it’s far more likely to be full-time than if you work in most other sectors.

“Not only are inferior imported products being used on new infrastructure projects and major construction jobs – they are being used to maintain one of our national icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s a total disgrace.”

“We should be building and maintaining our national infrastructure using Australian made steel, aluminium, glass, cement, copper and building materials.”

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is all about a recovery made in Australia.

“It’s about backing projects that create jobs, diversify our economy, broaden our industrial base and revive our regions,” Mr Chalmers says.

“This is about ensuring Labor is on the side of all those Australians who need and deserve secure, well-paid work.”

Shadow Minister for Industry and Innovation Ed Husic said Australia needs to back in our manufacturing to provide the well paid, full-time work it generates.

“When we talk about manufacturing, what we are really talking about in this country is having faith in the skill of our own,” Mr Husic says.

“That is why Labor is on the side of manufacturing in this country.”

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