Life after Lockdown: the future of Australian manufacturing


The Arqua Fountain, a product made by Street Furniture Australia.

Should we be using this moment to invest more broadly in Australian innovation and advanced manufacturing to create an industry that creates competitive, high-quality products and valuable jobs?

David Chuter participated in an expert panel, discussing the future of Australian manufacturing in the shadows of COVID-19. See below an excerpt from his contribution to the “Life after Lockdown” webinar that was hosted by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

“The challenge is how do we shift the critical mass in Australia – and the critical mass are the small and medium businesses who make up, in most of our industrial sectors, more than 90 per cent of our community.

“We need to build a sector that is relevant globally and integrated globally. It’s not going to be about protectionism going forwards. We need to come up with smart products and services that we can sell to the world.

I’d love to see a sector that is triple the size of the numbers we’ve been talking about, and not just triple the size for contribution to GDP, but triple the size for the research and development and innovation investment because that is how we’re going to build our future.”

“A personal lesson I learned through the global financial crisis was, tackle those things that are hard to do when times are toughest. We over-invested in R&D, innovation, skills development, and as an automotive supplier we exited the GFC much faster than our competition because we were prepared for it.”