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Lost at Sea
New research from the Centre for Future Work challenges the methodology and conclusions of a recent Productivity Commission study of productivity in Australia’s container port system.
The report, by economist Dr Phil Toner, suggests that the Commission’s exercise was ideologically motivated, and failed to properly interpret its own data.
Robbed at Sea
Seafarers perform difficult, often dangerous work that is essential to the operation of global supply chains, delivering all the merchandise we take for granted in modern life. Yet because of the legal vacuum governing international marine traffic, a lack of resources and attention for enforcement by national regulators, and the corporate strategies of shipping companies and their customers, seafarers are subject to some of the worst exploitation and abuse of any occupation in the world economy.
Sustainable Industrial Jobs in the Hunter
New research from the Centre for Future Work shows that the rapid transformation of Australia’s aluminium facilities to sustainable sources of electricity would spark substantial economic benefits: for the aluminium industry, its supply chain, and for the burgeoning renewable energy sector (which would achieve greater critical mass from major new power supply contracts).
Rebuilding Vehicle Manufacturing in Australia
Global automotive manufacturing is rapidly transitioning to the production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in line with technological advancements and the global community’s commitment to addressing climate change. This transition presents an enormous opportunity for Australia to rebuild its vehicle manufacturing industry, taking advantage of our competitive strengths in renewable energy, extractive industries, manufacturing capabilities, and
The Future of Work in Journalism
Information industries have lost some 60,000 jobs in Australia in the last 15 years, almost half during the COVID-19 pandemic. And a new research report highlights the need for active policy supports to stabilise the media industry, and protect the public good function of quality journalism.
Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry on the Australian Manufacturing Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disruptions, both within Australia and globally, have highlighted the strategic importance of a vibrant manufacturing sector to national economic performance and resilience. The Economic References Committee of the Senate of Australia recently conducted an inquiry into the future of Australia’s manufacturing industry, and the policy measures that are essential to ensuring its presence and success.
Creativity in Crisis: Rebooting Australia’s Arts and Entertainment Sector After COVID
Culture is an inescapable part of what it means to be human. We can no more imagine a life without the arts than we can imagine a life without language, custom, or ritual. Australia is home to the oldest continuing cultural traditions on the planet, and some of the world’s most renowned actors, musicians and
Industrial Policy-Making After COVID-19: Manufacturing, Innovation and Sustainability
As Treasurer during the 1980s, Paul Keating lamented that Australian governments had for decades been allowing the country’s sophisticated industrial base to fall apart as unsophisticated raw materials came to dominate the nation’s exports and as a result, its economy slipped into developing-world status. Keating’s famous warning of Australia’s looming ‘banana republic’ status spurred the Hawke and subsequent Keating Labor governments into action on economic restructuring, which included considering a range of industry policy intervention options to put Australia on a track to advanced, industrial status, as had been the aim of post-war nation-building that helped to institute an advanced manufacturing industrial base in Australia.
Missing a Stitch in Time:
Australia’s electricity industry constitutes a large and critical component of our national economic infrastructure. The industry produces $25 billion per year in value- added. It employs around 50,000 Australians, paying out $6 billion per year in wages and salaries. It makes $45 billion in annual purchases from a diverse and far-reaching supply chain, that provides the sector with inputs ranging from resources to equipment to construction to services.
Rebooting Australian Aluminium
A new report from the Centre for Future Work highlights the continuing economic importance of Alcan’s aluminium smelter in Portland, VIC, and discusses the potential of new renewable energy technologies to underpin the facility’s rejuvenation and long-term viability.
A Fair Share for Australian Manufacturing
New research from the Centre for Future Work reveals that Australia ranks last among all OECD countries for manufacturing self-sufficiency. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded Australians of the importance of being able to manufacture a full range of essential equipment and supplies; and the COVID recession has created a large economic void that a revitalised manufacturing sector could help to fill in coming years.
With disruptions in international supply chains for essential products (like medical equipment and supplies) disrupted in the current COVID pandemic, Australians have a new appreciation for the importance of retaining a flexible, high-quality, domestic manufacturing capacity. And the ongoing transformation of Australia’s energy industry, with rapid expansion of renewable energy sources, would add momentum to the renaissance of Australian manufacturing.
The Future of Transportation Work: Special Series, WA Transport
A special 6-part series of short articles from WA Transport Magazine: Researchers have identified the transportation industry as one of the sectors likely to be most affected by the coming implementation of new technologies: such as self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, and automated logistics systems. How will transportation workers fare as these technologies are rolled out, and
Advanced Skills for Advanced Manufacturing
Australia’s manufacturing industry is at a crossroads. After years of decline, the sector has finally found a more stable economic footing, and many indicators point to an expansion in domestic manufacturing in the coming years. Manufacturing added almost 50,000 new jobs in the last year – making it one of the most important sources of
A Portable Training Entitlement System for the Disability Support Services Sector
A new proposal for a portable training system for disability support workers under the NDIS would help to ensure the program achieves its goal of delivering high-quality, individualised services to people with disabilities. The proposal is developed in a new report from the Centre for Future Work. Under the plan, disability support workers would receive
From Consensus to Action: Report from the First National Manufacturing Summit
The first National Manufacturing Summit was held at Australian Parliament House, Canberra, in June 2017, organised by the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute. The event was attended by over 100 delegates from the full range of stakeholders concerned with the future of Australia’s manufacturing sector: including businesses, industry peak bodies, trade unions,
The future of transportation work: Technology, work organization, and the quality of jobs
Workers in all parts of the economy are confronting twin threats from accelerating changes in technology and automation, and the ongoing shift toward more precarious and irregular forms of work — including “gigs” on digital platforms. The transportation sector is widely acknowledged to be one of the most susceptible to both of these trends. The
Manufacturing: A Moment of Opportunity
In conjunction with the National Manufacturing Summit, titled “From Opportunity to Action,” at Parliament House in Canberra on June 21, 2017, the Centre for Future Work has released a new research paper on the opportunities to sustain and expand manufacturing jobs in Australia. Our new report, Manufacturing: A Moment of Opportunity, by Jim Stanford and
The Economic, Fiscal, and Social Importance of Aluminium Manufacturing in Portland, Victoria
The unit price of aluminium is more than 50 times greater than the unit price of bauxite. Yet Australia is growing its presence at the lower-value end of this industry – while perversely shrinking its presence in an industry whose output sells for 50 times as much. In recent years, Australia’s downstream capabilities in aluminium
Beyond Belief: Construction Labour and the Cost of Housing in Australia
Remember when Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton blamed unionized construction workers for the high cost of housing in Australia? The idea that workers (not property speculators or bankers) are to blame for the property bubble is pretty far-fetched — in fact, it sparked a viral storm on social media, using the #blameunions hashtag.
Auto Shutdown Will Deliver Another Economic Blow
We’ve known for over two years that this day was coming. But that won’t ease its economic and social pain. The shutdown of Australia’s mass motor vehicle assembly industry is now upon us. Ford’s assembly plant in Broadmeadows, Victoria, was the first to go dark: the final Aussie-made Ford has already rolled off the assembly
Penny Wise and Pound Foolish
The state government of New South Wales recently awarded a contract for the purchase of 512 new intercity passenger rail cars to a consortium that will manufacture the equipment in South Korea. The contract is worth $2.3 billion, including an unspecified sum to cover maintenance of the double-decker cars over an initial 15-year period. The
Manufacturing (Still) Matters
The problems in Australia’s manufacturing sector are well-known, and many Australians have concluded that the decline in manufacturing is inevitable and universal: that high-wage countries like Australia must accept the loss of manufacturing as an economic reality. But international statistics disprove this pessimism. Worldwide, manufacturing is growing, not shrinking, including in many advanced high-wage countries.