Baillieu’s Failure to fund the Synchrotron is another Blow to Victoria’s Manufacturing Sector

Posted on 09. May, 2011 in News

The failure of the Baillieu government to commit ongoing funding for the synchrotron puts further pressure on Victorian advanced manufacturing by potentially depriving industry of a major tool for research and development.

The development of advanced new products and processes are one of the keys to maintaining and growing Victoria’s manufacturing base and the synchrotron has a significant role to play in those developments.

“The Baillieu government’s failure to fund the Synchrotron puts its future, and Victoria’s reputation as a scientific and innovation state of excellence, at risk. It may also undermine our attractiveness for overseas companies to invest in local manufacturing and establish new enterprises here,” says Adem Somyurek, Shadow Minister for Manufacturing.

Since March 733 jobs have been lost at Bosch, National Foods, and Ford alone, and the Australian Industry Groups/Price Waterhouse Coopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) shows that manufacturing is in a state of contraction.

Mr Somyurek says that despite the immediate pressure on our manufacturing industry from the changes in the value of the Australian dollar, making our exports more expensive and imports cheaper, the Baillieu Government ignored the opportunity of last week’s budget to provide a serious policy response to the competitive strains put on Victorian manufacturers.

“The Victorian manufacturing industry is heavily reliant on our competitive advantage in high tech manufacturing and the sector invests 43% of total Victorian expenditure on R&D,” he says.

“Yet regardless of current and future opportunities for advanced manufacturing through the operation of the Synchrotron, the Baillieu government decided to stop funding it.  Just like that, regardless of the decisions impact.”

“The previous Labor governments worked hard to establish Victoria as the high tech capital of Australia. This high tech capability has facilitated the development of viable and competitive new manufacturing processes and capacity in the Victorian manufacturing sector as it faced increased competition from countries with low labour costs and significant government industry support.”

Mr Somyurek says that the failure to fund the synchrotron shows that the Baillieu Government simply does not understand modern manufacturing and how to help our manufacturer’s secure new global opportunities using the very latest technologies. It doesn’t understand that government has a responsibility to help industry build domestic and international competitiveness through the attraction of investment and provision of support in research and development, innovation, and technological transfer.



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