How to rebuild Aussie manufacturing

With 95% of Aussies backing trade diversification away from the evil CCP, let’s go back to first principles to reboot manufacturing:

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. with total loss of skills and work ethics our manufacturing can only be viable if huge tariffs get imposed on imported goods – basically to get manufacturing back we’ll need to isolate from the world but that would be incompatible with keeping large commodity exports

    • Introduce a one year national service for all school leavers to toughen them up, then they’ll be panting to skill up and get a real job.

      • They’re suffered enough at the hands of their parents and grandparents. Although it might be nice to instigate a full-on rebellion, if they have it in them.

        • It doesn’t have t be military service – could be a wide range of farm or community work. Better than sitting around at home with no job or income prospects – very demoralizing and may even forestall rebellion. Humans actually like being occupied and valued.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            Right. So a Job Guarantee.

            Are they going to get paid for their labour or are we going for a lightly disguised slavery system like work-for-the-dole ?

            The main reason school leavers don’t get “real jobs” is the lack of “real jobs”, not because they need to “harden up”.

        • ….and the trouble is most haven’t suffered too much at the hands of their parents and grandparents who have pandered and spoilt them and will leave them a $5 million RE inheritance…..idle hands make fretful minds etc. Might avert a generation of entitled narcissists taking over the world

    • Even apartheid South Africa struggled when they were isolated. Israel were a big help for a bit of sanctions-busting but technological advances were slow to arrive in the pariah state.

    • truthisfashionable

      That’s not very modern thinking.

      You need to start your own private education business, become eligible for VET FEE‑HELP, target kids who might make a go of it. Once you have say 10 of those local kids with their government guaranteed funding, you need to leverage up on international students (1 local can carry around 6 non-locals). As your educational empire builds you can continue to expand, more locals supporting more internationals.

      The curriculum, that might be a problem. You will need to start out adhering to the standards, then as your educational empire builds you can start to make a few ‘donations’ in exchange for some adjustments to the curriculum that will allow you to ‘facilitate’ more students through the course/s and all able to pass with flying colours.

      Bonus tip: If you need to assess students on essays (one of the most worthless written structures in existence), create a side business in the native language of your international students and for an additional $200 just send them a past (local) students essay.

      • I follow This Old Tony and AvE for hilarious engineering content. If I could add Boom to this it would be unreal.

    • Seriously though, boom. Get onto to YouTube with engineering tidbits. If the content’s good you’ll make a fortune.

  2. Taxes and Tariffs that assured a return on investment is a good place to begin. Skills should follow (demand) the industry as it develops. And using defence budget is another logical place. Getting small players to grow into bigger players could work in the entrim too.

    • TheLambKingMEMBER

      The trouble is that we have signed up to all these free trade agreements that means we can’t impose tariffs!

      • Nursery industries are often exceptions to the rules, anyway most FTA’s are dead in the water.

      • That was the entire purpose of free trade agreements, to remove the ability of governments to make economic decisions and put that in the hands of industry.

    • The90kwbeastMEMBER

      I love that rhetoric from the Libs. They say that but every government policy either inadvertently or deliberately picks winners across an array of industries. One only needs to look at the FIRE sector for being on the right side of policy, and the manufacturing sector for being on the wrong side of it.

  3. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    Medicines and food are a start. But really industry policy should be about cultivating world sector knowledge so we can sell that to others. Aged care is one we could do – everything aged care, drugs, treatments, new product trials, rehabilitation, ways of setting up etc. Governments do create wealth (CSL anyone?) but obviously not the current LNP.

      • Brahmin Australian

        It’s how Thailand managed to completely eradicate the virus. Second best response in the world according to the WHO.

        It’s reprehensible that western nations have actively encouraged citizens to not wear masks.

  4. BabundaMEMBER

    Any industry policy needs to be coupled to education/training policy. This is why I support the govt’s changes to funding uni degrees – we need to be incentivising engineering, science, etc. Same goes for the TAFE system.

    • So agree. I’ve mentioned Thailand’s success somewhere here on MB today, and that they instantly marshalled an army of volunteers to go into the poor and disadvantaged areas to assist with masks, hand washing and social isolation. In April when100 top health professionals advised the federal and state governments, one at least said that without better precautions Melbourne only had a 10% chance of success in eradication.

      Now the Age is quoting hotel staff and security guards from the city isolation hotels are saying they had inadequate PPE, precautions etc.
      All so tiresomely predictable without universal mask wearing. Sigh.

  5. @drSmithy No, not a job guarantee or a work for the dole or slavery. Agree that the reason the young don’t have jobs is because there aren’t any.

    But now and for the foreseeable future that’s unlikely going to change. So you could look on it as either a year of vocational guidance, or an extra year of schooling, or even do it in year 10 – most kids waste at least half of year nine and ten, so do what the private schools do and send them to the bush, or jackarooing, working in remote communities etc – anything they have an interest in – but it would be better than demoralisingly sitting around with nothing to do, and they may possibly benefit from participating in the community/workforce, or even find a vocation/career.

    In fact, I wish I’d had such an opportunity. Most kids have no idea what they want to do and generally just follow in parents’ or relatives’ footprints and often regret their first choice of career.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Wasting half of year 9 and 10 ? That’s a bold claim. Or do you mean the half of the day they don’t have to spend at school ?

      It is difficult to see how your proposal is not a form of job guarantee unless:
      * It’s coerced
      * It doesn’t pay at least minimum wage

      In which case I’d refer you to my previous comments.

      What is your objective ?

      • Do you have kids drSmithy? Mine spent most of yrs 9 & 10 doing anything but home work/school work. In fact, I’d pretty much guarantee that most kids could cram all 12 years of actual academic learning into six.

        So my agenda here is to think outside the box, incorpora t e kids into the community by involving them in it rather than shutting them up in cotton wool schools from whence they emerge at age 18 so ignorant of the real world that it takes years for them to find their feet.

        • @drSmithy. In fact, one of the most valuable things you could do for kids today (in one of the worlds most urbanized of countries) is for kids to spend a year on regenerative farms – that would probably teach them more about the world they’ll inherit than all 12 years of schooling

  6. Jumping jack flash

    No private company would touch it in this environment. It requires national industry and a ton of nationalism.

    It has been done before, but only with those vital ingredients.

    But there is no way the current crop of clowns from any party or persuasion could physically or mentally do it.

  7. Beware the moral hazard of catering to nostalgia of an ageing electorate, with digitally illiterate MPs, many of whom are retired and think there should be a return to the GM model of being a subsidiary of a US or global company to do low level god awful boring production line piece work. Other nations do the same with commensurate subsidies, tax breaks, consulting/brokering fees, greased palms etc. then need to import workers due to decline in the working age population.

    Most manufacturing companies are dominated within and out by services i.e. R&D, finance, marketing, logistics etc. not production lines for low skilled workers anymore….

    Example above of how an investment by government has created a world class company in CSL, Cochlear not unrelated, but there are SMEs who can and do thrive through R&D for niche products supported by highly skilled but still vocational workers and global supply chains and customers.

    Maybe state governments with local industry (not catering to the needs of large global or multinational companies) can do more with some planning and investment in research and skills development; federally and the LNP in general seem nobbled by the IPA and related invisible hand ideology of the radical right libertarians?

  8. How to re-build Aussie manufacturing?

    Institute policies that draw capital away from the property sector, for a start (duh!)

    Seriously, it’s not rocket science.