||Issue No. 317||28 July 2006|
Independent of Facts
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Help is at Hand
Australia Faces Jobs Meltdown
The National Institute of Economic and Industry Research is urging Canberra to invest an extra billion dollars in manufacturing to prevent the loss of 200,000 jobs by 2020.
Its State of Australian Manufacturing report, launched in Sydney last week, says that level of assistance would sustain 290,000 direct and indirect positions.
The institute advocates a sweep program of industry assistance based on ...
- $300 million for investment allowances
- $300 million for research and development
- a $225 million increase in export development grants
- $50 million worth of incentives to attract foreign equity to small and medium-sized Australian manufacturers, and
- $50 million to attract and train high-skilled workers
Institute economists argue the rundown of manufacturing has seen Australia meet five of six benchmarks identified by the IMF as prevailing at times of meltdowns that rocked European, South American and Asian currencies during the 1990s.
The only "signpost" not pointing in Australia's direction is "falling terms of trade" which the Institute says is largely due to the resources boom.
"Without a change in policy to arrest these unsustainable trends, Australia faces a currency crisis at a point in the future that will most likely coincide with the end of current commodity price cycle," it says.
The warnings reflect concerns of middle Australia revealed in marginal seats polling commissioned by the AMWU.
Ninety three percent of more than 1000 people interviewed agreed it was "essential" to maintain Australian manufacturing, even if it require government support.
Sixty eight percent of voters did not believe the Howard Government had done enough to support industry, while only 12 percent believed the government was powerless in the face of globalisation.
Sixty five percent would prefer to see budget surpluses invested in industry support rather than personal tax cuts.
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, said the result showed the government should and could play a role in manufacturing's survival.
He said, on average, the sector had shed 184 jobs every week since the Howard Government took office in 1996.
"The public understands these issues and is crying out for the federal government to show some leadership," Cameron said.
"People understand that putting all our hopes in the mining boom makes us very vulnerable.'
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