CANBERRA, March 30 (Xinhua) — Australia’s opposition leader has revealed his plan to reinvigorate the country’s manufacturing sector.
Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Labor Party, on Tuesday promised to establish a 15 billion Australian dollar (11.4 billion U.S. dollar) “national reconstruction fund” if victorious at the next general election.
If established Albanese said the fund would be directed to consider bolstering Australia’s car, train and ship manufacturing industries.
He told Labor’s national conference, which was held virtually, that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted weaknesses in Australian manufacturing with an estimated 50,000 jobs lost in the sector over the last 12 months.
The proposed reconstruction fund would operate similarly to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which has an independent board that makes decisions on where to invest on behalf of the government.
“The COVID pandemic has exposed serious deficiencies in Australia’s economy, in particular our ability to manufacture products and be globally competitive when it comes to innovation and technology,” Albanese said on Tuesday.
“Building new industries and boosting our existing industries represents an opportunity for Australia to recover from the COVID pandemic with a stronger economy.”
“If there is anything that COVID has taught us, it is the need for Australia to be a place which makes things – to have our own industrial and manufacturing capabilities, our own sovereign capabilities.”
The number of Australians employed in manufacturing is at an all-time low with the sector accounting for 6.7 percent of jobs compared to 17 percent in the 1980s. Enditem