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The Abbott government is preparing to lay out its plan to support Australian industries to compete globally. Ben Macmahon/AAP

A thinking country’s guide to competing on the global stage

With major employers heading offshore and employment numbers decimated, what will emerge from the ashes of Australia’s manufacturing industry? And what role should manufacturing play in the federal government’s…
Canada faces similar pressures on its car industry, but its approach has been opposite to that of Australia. AAP/Paul Osborne

Canada and Australia: a tale of two car industries

As Australian prime minister Tony Abbott arrives in Canada to talk investment and trade, both countries are facing similar challenges to their respective manufacturing bases, particularly in the automotive…
In China, there has been a shift away from traditional textile and clothing to computers and communications. AAP/EPA/SHEPHERD ZHOU CHINA OUT

As India and China transform, Australian manufacturers must follow

As Australia laments the decline of its manufacturing sector, China is actively taking steps to accelerate its move up the value chain. Historically a low-cost operating environment, China was once an…
Business has agitated for change, but is now wary of the negative impact of a tough budget.

The state of Australia: business

In the lead up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Australia’s loss of economic complexity is leading to a primitive economy in which the nation’s share of the value of its products shrinks and living standards fall. Marija Piliponyte/Shutterstock

For want of industry policy, our living standards are set to fall

Australia faces a fall in living standards unless policy action is taken. This is due to de-industrialisation and loss of economic complexity. The higher the economic complexity, the stronger the economy’s…
Manufacturing businesses involved in the car industry are facing tough decisions. AAP

What does diversification really mean for our auto sector?

The recent decisions by Ford, Holden and Toyota to cease manufacturing in Australia have raised serious concerns for the thousands of Australian businesses who work in the automotive supply chain. Manufacturers…
A mini power plant in a North Sydney basement. Trigeneration plants like these generate electricity, heating and cooling far more efficiently than with mains power. AAP/Short Communications, Girrit Fokkema

How to save business billions, without cutting renewable jobs

The debate about the future of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has largely focused on the issue of immediate costs to business. But if we’re thinking about Australia’s long-term economic interests…
Software and interactive content development account for the largest proportion of creative skills in Australia. ImagineCup

We can rebalance Australia’s economy with creative industries

Australia’s economic challenge is now starkly apparent. In the wake of a diminishing contribution to our national income by primary commodity exports (think iron ore, coal), we need to “rebalance” the…
Efficient manufacturing depends largely on scale, and Australia’s car production numbers have fallen. AAP/Adi Weda

Car manufacturing numbers just don’t stack up

Now that the final nail has been hammered in to the car industry’s coffin, what does it mean for the Australian economy? As always, the data is a good place to start. Efficient manufacturing depends largely…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is betting the rapid demise of Australia’s automotive sector can be contained politically. Alan Porritt/AAP

Managed decline to rapid demise: Abbott’s car industry gamble

For the past 30 years, Australian automotive industry policies can be characterised as managed decline. Beginning in the 1980s with the Button Plan, the aim of policy was to consolidate the industry and…
Global shift: one-in-three vehicles produced by Toyota are manufactured in Asia. AAP

Toyota’s exit was inevitable: now for real test of government

Toyota Australia President and CEO, Max Yasuda, has described the car maker’s decision to leave Australia as one of the saddest days in its history worldwide. I do not doubt the emotion expressed by Mr…
The link between manufacturing cars and developing technology has been fundamental in Australia. AAP

Losing the car industry means we risk our technology

As I’ve argued before and it’s generally accepted, the car industry is a critical part of Australia’s science and technology base. The sector spends A$600 million a year on R&D and another $800 million…
Toyota has surprised with an announcement it would finish manufacturing cars here at the end of 2017. AAP

Toyota names 2017 end, Australian car making to cease: experts react

Toyota has confirmed it will cease its vehicle and engine production in Australia by the end of 2017, signalling the end of automotive manufacturing in Australia. The announcement follows decisions by…
AAP/Julian Smith

The politics of deindustrialisation

Industry policy has suddenly become quite fashionable – or it has as a talking point, at least. Not since the 1980s has there been quite so much discussion of the relative merits of ‘government intervention…
Graphene is an exciting and lucrative new industry – so why isn’t the Australian government funding local commercial development? Hinkle Group

Graphene can pave the way for Australian manufacturing

Australian industries have reached a turning point. With old industries on the way out, the Australian manufacturing sector’s biggest challenge is to move from a low-cost mass production model to one that…
The right policy settings will drive Australia toward a creative economy that produces knowledge and information. Paul Gorbould

From manufacturing’s ashes a creative economy could rise

General Motors Holden’s decision to pull the pin on its Melbourne manufacturing plant spurred renewed debate around government-subsidised industry sectors. But instead of throwing money into a flailing…
Toyota is the ‘last man standing’ in Australian car manufacturing, but it needs to shift from an ‘us and them’ approach to industrial relations. Alan Porritt/AAP

Toyota needs a new approach to avoid the road to nowhere

The Productivity Commission will today release the preliminary report of its inquiry into Australian automotive manufacturing industries, ensuring the future of car manufacturing in Australia continues…
Motoring executives and politicians have met to discuss assistance for the manufacturing sector, but they shouldn’t overlook the need for local leaders. Joe Castro/AAP

After Holden: think national, act local

The Abbott government has made its first move to assist the regions affected by Holden’s planned closure. A high-profile taskforce, to be led by prime minister Tony Abbott and include two other federal…
Toyota has a history of operational excellence in Australia. Joe Castro/AAP

Last ‘man’ standing: what now for Toyota in Australia?

Now that Ford and Holden have announced the 2017 closure of their Australian manufacturing and assembly operations, what are the prospects for the industry and its key remaining participant, Toyota? Unlike…
Those scrutinising government support of the car industry have changed their views over time. judepics/Flickr

Measuring the fallout of Holden’s ‘perfect storm’

For many decades, Australians have regarded a local car industry as a demonstration of our domestic capability. Sometimes, we have paid dearly for our enthusiasm. In the late 1970s, import quotas limited…

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