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Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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The Bright Future of Queensland Manufacturing

Generally people have mixed views on the future of manufacturing in Australia as a source of jobs, exports, investment and growth.

The backdrop is Queensland manufacturing was once the largest and most important industry sector for the Sunshine State.  It has now slipped to fourth in respect to both contribution to gross state product and employment.  Manufacturing’s contribution to the Queensland economy between 1989-90 and 2016-17 has decreased from 11.4 per cent to just 6.3 per cent and as a percentage of total employment has reduced from 11.9 per cent to 7.2  per cent over the same period.

The issue relating to Queensland manufacturing is really one of competitiveness.  Manufacturing is increasingly at a competitive disadvantage internationally due to higher operating costs in Queensland and Australia.  The Aussie dollar; our workplace relations framework including labour costs; high energy costs; and a poor tax system place both Queensland exporters and import competing manufacturers in an increasingly difficult position.

However I believe Queensland’s manufacturing sector has the significant potential to contribute to the continued growth and diversification of our economy.  Innovation, advanced manufacturing, offshoring of tooling, tailoring to niche product requirements and meeting short timeframes are the necessitated future of this sector. Our State's manufacturers, through necessity, have undergone a period of profound adaptation and have emerged lean and hungry for business and I believe their future is very bright.

 

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