The Labor party has promised a $1 billion investment in advanced manufacturing to ‘build a future made in Australia’.
The funding was announced on Sunday as part of a bigger $15 billion national reconstruction fund.
In a statement, Anthony Albanese explained advanced manufacturing would create jobs and replace the 85,000 jobs stripped from the national workforce since the Coalition had been in power.
New industrial jobs would be created in transport, defence, resources, agricultural and food processing, medical science, renewables and low emission technologies manufacturing.
“I want to be the prime minister who helps Australia stand on our own two feet again. This is about sovereign capability,” the Labor leader said.
“Serious countries should make things. Serious countries can stand on their own two feet when it comes to manufacturing essentials.”
According to the OECD, Australia ranks last on manufacturing self-sufficiency compared to other member countries. The Labor party argued that Australia would remain in the bottom half of all OECD countries for economic growth over the next decade without more support for the advanced manufacturing sector.
Australia ranks 15th in the world for innovation inputs but only 33rd for innovation outputs.
Richard Marles said manufacturing investment and creating onshore jobs was key to Labor’s post-pandemic plan.
“There are hundreds of thousands of skilled and well-paid jobs up for grabs – but if manufacturing all goes overseas, we will miss out,” he said.
Should Labor be voted into government, the party has pledged to consult widely with local communities, businesses, unions, regional development authorities, states and local governments to identify projects that support innovation, grow advanced manufacturing jobs.
The Liberal state government in NSW announced this week it had its own industry policy green paper under development.
Labor’s Ed Husic said the Coalition government had run down Australia’s manufacturing capability and it was time to restore the sector.
“[We] want to back the local know-how that is keen to not just rebuild manufacturing but use our smarts and technology to put our advanced manufacturing potential at the front of the global pack,” Husic said.