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Minister Envisions Australian-Made Future as Businesses Reassess China Risk

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Industry minister Karen Andrews is hoping to galvanize Australias manufacturing sector as businesses grapple with the aftermath of the CCP virus.

Meanwhile, defence expert Michael Shoebridge believes that Australian businesses will need to reassess their reliance on the China market.

Bringing Innovation to Manufacturing

Andrews, the minister for industry, science, and technology, said that she is hoping traditional manufacturers can follow the route of tech start-ups, which have focused on innovation and disruption.

According to Andrews, the pandemic has already shown that manufacturers can be fleet-footed and adapt to changing business conditions, with many shifting their operations to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitisers.

Andrews wrote on Twitter on April 1:

“Aussies manufacturers are stepping up to make sure we have enough supplies for our frontline health workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Were increasing the numbers of masks being made in Australia from a few million a year to up to 200 million.”

Aussies manufacturers are stepping up to make sure we have enough supplies for our frontline health workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Were increasing the numbers of masks being made in Australia from a few million a year to up to 200 million. pic.twitter.com/J00KqUQNgZ

— Karen Andrews MP (@karenandrewsmp) April 1, 2020

Andrews is also hoping to see more value-added work in Australia saying that the virus will force businesses to shift from a “fast, disposable, retail approach” to a focus on “quality over quantity,” she told the National Press Club on May 20.

However, the minister cited over-regulation as the biggest issue, highlighting the need to simplify regulation.

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“Manufacturing Australia cite the fact that a factory can be proposed, approved, built and operational in America, in less time than it takes to jump the very first approval hurdle in Australia. That is simply not good enough,” Andrews said.

“Things that would normally take years, can actually be achieved in weeks when the will is there,” she said.

Chinas Economy Cannot Revive Australia

Michael Shoebridge of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told The Epoch Times on May 18 that Chinas struggling economy and the regimes recent actions will force businesses to reassess their approach to the market.

Currently, 26.4 percent of Australias two-way trade is with China, followed by 9.9 percent with Japan, and 8.6 percent with the United States.

China is also Australias largest barley market, with almost 50 percent of barley exports (worth $917 million) going to the country each year.

Shoebridge said there has been “lazy thinking” from government and businesses expecting the China market to revive Australias economy as it did after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

He was pessimistic that the Chinese regime itself could rebound from the virus, and said it was too laden with debt to replicate the widespread infrastructure spending (US$584 billion) that pushed it through the GFC.

Epoch Times Photo
Workers walk past a construction site of residential buildings by property developer Country Garden in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China on Sept. 17, 2019. (Wong Campion/Reuters)

“They now have their own post-pandemic economic problem, which is their consumer demand is depressed, their global manufacturing markets are depressed, and the stimulus tools that they “got out of jail” with in the GFC are pretty much exhausted. So that is a triple-whammy for China,” he said.

According to Shoebridge, corporate strategists and business owners now need to contend with Chinas weakening consumer spending, and also potential intervention from the state—which played out with the regimes implementation of tariffs on Australian barley, and thRead More – Source