Program targets our jobs

MOST people in Gladstone are aware of how many jobs are created by the region's manufacturing sector.

But with Australian manufacturing seemingly headed for oblivion the call has gone out for a solution.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Paul Bastion visited Gladstone yesterday to continue a campaign to stem the flow of job losses from Australia's manufacturing sector.

"Currently we're failing to ensure that enough Australian content is being used in mining sector projects during the current boom," Mr Bastion said.

"We have engineering workshops and factories here in Gladstone that are not at full capacity."

Mr Bastion said manufacturing employed a million people in Australia but, without urgent action, that could be lost.

"The opportunity exists now to develop a national plan to secure existing jobs, create new Australian jobs, build skills in trades and a thriving industry in the future," he said.

"We are calling for more local procurement, more infrastructure spending and bringing in a strong anti-dumping regime."

He listed three priorities: boosting skills; fostering innovation through better use of science and research; and creating smarter leadership.

One of the specific concerns Mr Bastion named was the exporting of steel overseas for fabrication, rather than it being fabricated in Australia.

At a glance

Manufacturing in Gladstone is a vital employer.

About 20% of jobs in Gladstone are in the manufacturing sector. That is double the national average. It includes major manufacturers in the aluminium and alumina sectors.

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