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We all know ScuMo doesn’t like manufacturing and never really talks about it. When COVID-19 struck, he set up the National COVID-19 Commission in March 2020 to lead us out of the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic. To chair this body, he appointed Nev Power, a former Fortescue Metals CEO and current Chairman of Perth Airport. Later in 2020, ScuMo changed the name by adding “Advisory Board” to the title.

All we have seen so far are announcements back in September about Nev’s gas-fired recovery. The PM and Angus Taylor have given great mileage to anything to do with gas.

The NCCAB web site has been surprisingly idle for months with no real news or announcements. So it comes as a surprise to discover that Nev Power, an engineer, has been spruiking about the role of engineers in our recovery and their link to manufacturing. Thanks to very interesting body called, which is dedicated to engineering in reality, we have now heard from Nev Power and to be honest, his message makes quite a bit of sense. In Chris Sheedy’s article of 30th October 2020, Power said “it is less about the industry engineers are in and more about their unique and vital set of skills. I think the role of engineers in the recovery is diverse and critical”.

The article also includes comments from Dr Jens Goennemann, MD of Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. He points out that manufacturing is not a sector – it’s a capability that spans many sectors. He also said people confuse manufacturing with production. In fact, he said manufacturing is made of 7 parts: Research and development; design; logistics; production; distribution; sales and service.

There has been much talk over the last year about bringing manufacturing back to our shores. A key point made by Power was the need for our key focus from an engineering perspective to be on sustainability. “If we just throw money at this, we’ll end up with welfare businesses. As soon as government support is withdrawn, they will fall over.”

Goennemann and Power shared the message “it’s not about the industry in which the engineer works, but about the engineer’s skill set, and the value and capability they introduce to the process.”

This is an important topic and we will continue to bring worthy items to our readers attention.

In the meantime, we have 3 very valid questions:

  1. Why did ScuMo only announce a paltry $1.3billion for a Modern Manufacturing Initiative in Budget 20/21 and a $52.8M Manufacturing Modernisation Fund?

  2. Why haven’t we heard Nev Power’s manufacturing thoughts on the NCCAB web site?

  3. Why is the LNP government so damn quiet about manufacturing when as a country we have demonstrated real strengths?

The NCCAB still has a role to play as the above article shows but will ScuMo change his tune and change his priorities by elevating manufacturing in his thinking? Or will he take the usual easy way out and focus on digging holes in the ground and pandering to the big boys in resources?

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