Beyond the production line – advanced manufacturing, innovation and industry policy

Speech delivered by CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin at the Advanced Manufacturing Summit in Sydney on 11 November 2014.

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Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today.

I am truly excited by the content and quality of presenters at this conference. Advanced manufacturing does and will increasingly provide an important element in Australia's economic sustainability.

As noted, I represented the manufacturing centre of Wollongong in the Parliament of Australia during the massive economic and accompanying social restructuring that occurred with the downsizing of the steel and coal industries.

Watching the emergence of high-tech, high-skilled, global supply chain-linked new generation industries, particularly in association with the University of Wollongong, has underscored what your conference seeks to highlight.

Advanced manufacturing

Rumours of the death of manufacturing in Australia are greatly exaggerated.

In fact, provided we focus on the right type of manufacturing and the right type of support, it will continue to be a significant contributor to our economy.

However, for this to happen Australia's mindset about manufacturing must change. 

While many associate advanced manufacturing with niche products such as biopharmaceuticals or defence technology, that is only one part of the picture.

The high-cost advanced economies that have had the most success in advanced manufacturing, such as Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, are those that recognise that it is not just about products - advanced manufacturing includes the full suite of activities from concept, research and development and design stage all the way through to post-sales services. It is about adding value to the production line.

Read full speech (pdf)

Read more about CEDA's advanced manufacturing research publication