The Challenges Confronting our Industry
Real or Perceived, the ACETA Response
This landscape may be bearable for well-resourced big guys but insurmountable for the majority, who are too small to confront the daunting barrier we call red tape. The regime that tackles the national constitution and reduces the layers of government to two, will be forever acclaimed by the electorate, particularly if they allocate savings to decentralisation, infrastructure and the resourcing of manufacturing and creativity to increase commercial activity and employment, all of which creates new taxpayers. The above described scenario undermines the capability of small enterprise in accessing the resources that may be available, and compared to those we compete with, Australian manufacturers are under-supported. It seems our competitor nations understand the critical importance of value adding, a sector often populated by small to medium sized enterprises, once the back bone of this nation.
A skills shortage is undermining our manufacturing sector, and in some instances has forced companies to produce off-shore. Education in this country has become well and truly commodified with elements of the tertiary system focussed on lucrative export markets, whilst the TAFE system is no longer addressing core trades vital to our sector. The vast number of degrees being issued is undermining a once prestigious achievement, with industry reporting many degree students devoid of passion, aptitude or experience in their subject matter. ACETA is addressing this issue from the inside.
All local manufacturers have to sustain themselves initially in a very small market place compared to their USA or European competitors who have infinitely greater numbers of clients on their door step. In addition, our southern hemisphere location places us a great and costly distance from most major markets. This is one of the reasons that our producers are incredibly resilient, they have to be. But on the rare occasion a door opens we are a force to be reckoned with, and for the few who have made it on the world stage we should be proud. We confront other challenges at home such as damaging and illogical political correctness that undermines wisdom and impedes progress. Of critical importance is the expanding leadership vacuum that is not just confined to our industry, but a concern generally and as a starting point look at the example set by government, however space restrictions don’t allow further examination, maybe another time. ACETA is across the leadership issue and developing responses to assist the membership.
The story so far depicts the glass half empty type narrative that many manufacturers fall in to, and there are many other challenges not mentioned, however we have chosen to live in this country and we have chosen to base our enterprises in this country, why? Do you want to live and work anywhere else? At the end of the day, and challenges aside, Australia is still a great place to live and work compared to many others and my pitch to you, join ACETA, unify, and together we can minimise these challenges and power up your chances of realising the dream.
All the best