5 MINUTES: Manufacturing

Google Maps, pacemakers, medical penicillin and wi-fi: what do these life-changing innovations have in common? They were all created by Australians.

It is undeniable that we were once a nation of innovation, betterment and growth.

We were building a reputation around the world as a land of creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving, proudly inventing, making and packaging creations to then export to our friends across the globe.

But today we’re seeing a very different narrative play out. It is disappointing to see Australian businesses and manufacturers feeling left behind and forgotten.

They are at their wits’ end, knowing that they would be better helped and supported by moving their operations overseas, taking Aussie jobs with them.

One of the latest businesses that has shut down their Australian manufacturing hub is Tritium Charging. Tritium is an international company home-grown in my electorate of Bonner.

Until last year, it manufactured hardware and software for electric-vehicle chargers in Brisbane.

I was fortunate enough to show my colleague the Deputy Leader of the Opposition—the member for Farrer—and Brisbane City Councillor Lisa Atwood around Tritium last year.

As the member for Farrer said so eloquently, Tritium represents the very best of Australian innovation and manufacturing.

It is exactly the type of company we should be backing to transition to a low-emission economy.

It is so disappointing to see that, owing to the lack of support from both the federal Labor and Queensland state Labor governments, this proud Aussie business will consolidate its operations in the United States.

Two hundred workers, many of whom live in my electorate, have already lost their livelihoods, with a total of 400 jobs to be lost in advanced manufacturing.

This government claim that they are on the side of people who want to work hard to get ahead, but in reality, instead of supporting home-grown talent, they are forgetting them.

Their policies are just not working. How can mum-and-dad businesses operate with this government’s complex industrial relations laws hanging over their heads? Their disastrous right to disconnect law could lead to fines of more than $18,000.

This law just opens up another level of complexity for businesses at a time when they are doing it very tough. Tritium isn’t the only business in my electorate that is feeling left-behind.

Vuly, located in my electorate, develops and creates trampolines and outdoor-play equipment, and as a multimillion-dollar business, Vuly is proudly Australian-owned and -operated.

For over a decade, they have pushed the limits of innovation and fun while making sure their products are safe for kids around the world.

Like many Australian businesses, Vuly wants to expand and build to have greater manufacturing capabilities in Tingalpa in my electorate, but when it reached out for help and support from both the federal and state governments they were given the cold shoulder.

I want to make it clear: Vuly wasn’t looking for a handout. It wanted reduced bureaucracy—that means it wanted red tape to be cut—and for better incentives to invest in growing its Australian manufacturing capabilities.

After being ignored, Vuly is planning to expand its operations overseas, taking jobs and future growth opportunities for Australia with them.

That is so disappointing. I have had so many local-business owners in the area of hospitality and retail who have said that it is harder for them to operate under this federal Labor government.

One local business owner, Matt, told me that last year alone, overhead costs for running his automotive dealership have increased by $1 million.

This is owing to spiralling electricity prices, the new ute tax, wage rises and rent increases on top of 13 interest rate rises.

But Matt is not alone.

A local Bonner business cafe owner, Sam, told me the cost-of-living crisis has also resulted in a cost-of-doing-business crisis.

He has now had to look at reducing his team—which is like a family to him—from 14 down to 10 just to keep afloat. Sam said that if things don’t change, that 10 may be reduced to eight.

Australians and Australian business owners deserve better.

They deserve a government that will protect Australia’s sovereign capabilities.

They deserve a government that has an economic plan that will put downward pressure on interests rates.

They deserve a government who will create a strong economic future, one full of innovation, growth and sustainability.

They deserve a government who puts Australian businesses first.

Right now that’s not happening.

Australian businesses have been abandoned by this federal government, and only a coalition government can get the country back on track and support Australian businesses.