It's hugely important in my electorate of Bruce, which includes the great Dandenong manufacturing precinct. Yet, under the Liberals, manufacturing's share of our total economy in south-east Melbourne has fallen every year for the last eight years, and we're now in our ninth year.
The government pretend to care. They talk about it when they think it's useful for them, but it's all fake. We saw last year the Prime Minister's record on job creation. Remember the centrepiece of his budget, the JobMaker scheme? It was going to make 450,000 jobs, he told us. He ran around the country announcing the 450,000 jobs. And what happened? Well, when the cameras were gone, they scrapped the scheme and it created barely one per cent of what they promised.
Their job creation record is a fraud. They chased the car industry out of Australia—that's how much they cared about manufacturing—destroying a valuable industry and the supply chain that sat behind it.
But the challenge for Australia now, as we come out of the COVID recession and out of Morrison's lockdowns, is how to boost manufacturing. The Prime Minister doesn't have a plan. He talks about snapback: 'Let's make things how they were.' That's a low-wages, weak-manufacturing economy.
We deserve and need better. A Labor government will deliver a future made in Australia and a plan to build back stronger.
We will deliver a $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund to revive Australian manufacturing, partnering with the private sector—smart policy.
The Australian Skills Guarantee will give apprentices, trainees and cadets a chance on government projects, to give them a start.
The Defence Industry Development Strategy, the National Rail Manufacturing Plan and, now, our 10-point Buy Australian plan. The Commonwealth spends $200 billion on procurement.
We can squeeze more value out of that for small and medium-sized businesses and we can create more jobs in Australia with a smart, Buy Australian policy. Contrast that with the government's laissez-faire, let-it-rip, she'll-be-right approach.