MANUFACTURING issues were discussed in Wagga yesterday when outspoken Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella stopped off in the city.
Talking to large and small business representatives at a forum, the Opposition spokeswoman for Innovation, Industry and Science said that confidence had been lost and it was a difficult climate.
But she said she hadn’t lost faith in the manufacturing industry, despite the high Australian dollar.
“Absolutely it has a future, it is one of our five pillars of a five-point plan for the Australian economy and we are smart and innovative and our energy should be cheaper,” she said.
“We’ve got all the reasons why we can have advanced and innovative manufacturing.”
With Holden recently announcing it may not be able to keep its Australian factories open and a continuing decline within the industry, Mrs Mirabella said changes had to be made.
“There are policy failures regarding car industry policy,” she said. “The current funding arrangements aren’t working; the carbon tax has imposed a cost on the industry.
“We think there’s a better way and this is for the productivity commission to have a review to come up with a funding model that is transparent and provides long-term viability for the industry.
“We don’t want to see the car companies going cap in hand to the government every six months.”
Mrs Mirabella was asked what she thought about the $400 million international wholesale trade centre planned for Wagga.
The trade centre will be funded by Chinese money and be an international outlet made available to manufacturers from around the world to showcase their goods.
She said she couldn’t make a comment until she was briefed about it and had further information.