Australia pins its hopes on new wave of industrialisation
High-tech manufacturing emerges as solution to reduce nation’s reliance on mining for exports.
The closures of Ford, Toyota and GM Holden assembly over the past three years ended a century of carmaking in Australia and dealt a bitter blow to a nation seeking to reduce its dependence on digging natural resources out of the ground.
But Australia’s manufacturing sector, already hollowed from a decade-long mining boom that caused the local currency to surge, has defied predictions of a collapse.
Instead it is undergoing a nascent revival with the emergence of a new generation of homegrown high-tech advanced manufacturers targeting overseas markets such as the US and Europe for sales.
Jake Dingle is the chief executive and co-founder of Carbon Revolution, a high-tech manufacturer in Geelong, a seaside town near Melbourne that lost its Ford factory in 2016.
Carbon Revolution has developed the world’s first single-piece carbon fibre wheel and won Ferrari, Ford and Renault as customers for a product that is 45 per cent lighter than standard aluminium alloy wheels.
“We have been told that we have at least a five-year advantage over the competition, based on the fact that no one else has actually started successfully manufacturing carbon fibre wheels at scale,” Mr Dingle said.