Message from CEO, Jennifer Conley
When we asked a group of Geelong manufacturers last year to tell us their biggest challenge, the response was unequivocal: skills and labour shortages.
The sector has other challenges, they said, including skyrocketing energy costs, patchy support for technology upgrades, and out of control supply chain disruptions due to global factors reaching crisis proportions.
But shortages of skilled and unskilled labour, exacerbated by Covid and on the heels of three decades of declining trades skills, has meant sleepless nights for many of our manufacturers, companies that provide stable long-term and meaningful employment for a significant portion of the Australian workforce.
We’re seeing highly competent managers with years of experience leaving the sector, rising mental health challenges, coupled with declining appreciation of the issues from State and Federal Governments. The regulatory framework becomes more complex, not less, the apprentice completion rates decline further, and meanwhile, the community rightly demands sovereign manufacturing capability for Australia, that is Australian-controlled production, to sustain our way of life, improve our economic complexity and our security.
The incoming Albanese Government has a huge job ahead of it. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s new Ministry was sworn in yesterday with local Member for Corio, the Hon Richard Marles, appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, two of the most important roles in Government.
Our region’s Member for Ballarat, the Hon Catherine King, serving since 2001, has been appointed Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, with a seat in the inner Cabinet.
The GMC also congratulates other local MPs, including Corangamite’s Libby Coker, Wannon’s Dan Tehan, and Senator Sarah Henderson for their re-election to Parliament.
The key Industry and Science portfolio will be held by the Hon Ed Husic, the Member for Chifley in Western Sydney. Mr Husic has served as Shadow Industry Minister since the start of 2021 and has advocated for the local tech sector and manufacturing since he first entered Parliament.
The new Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Minister, in the outer Cabinet, will be Pat Conroy MP, who represents the regional NSW Hunter Region electorate of Shortland.
We look forward to working with the new Government to help support the growth of manufacturing for our region and the nation and in particular, discussing how the pressing challenges can be addressed.
In the meantime, “Big Manufacturing Challenges of 2022” will be the focus of discussion at our upcoming GMC Connect event on 28 June 2022.
GMC is delighted to invite members to join this networking event, which includes a tour of the state-of-the-art Geelong Tech School, followed by an industry panel discussion and refreshments.