Unions are astounded that a key manufacturing group made up of employers, unions and the Government has been shunned by the Minister for Industry despite the current crisis in Australian manufacturing.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said the Manufacturing Leaders Group was meant to meet last October but it was delayed until “the new Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP has determined how he wishes to proceed”.

“Mr Macfarlane has shunned this group at the worst possible time,” Mr Oliver said.

“At a time when the nation is experiencing a job loss crisis with many industries shutting up shop and going overseas most people would expect the Industry Minister would take more of an interest in finding solutions.”

“This group was set up to bring key stakeholders to the table, encourage collaboration and forward planning to benefit Australia’s future. It is about rolling roll up sleeves and looking for solutions.”

“The October meeting in 2013 was postponed and we haven’t heard from the Minister since. There’s so much at stake and yet this Government is asleep at the wheel.”

“Since the Abbott Government came to power we’ve seen massive job losses, the biggest fall in employment in over a decade and Australia’s manufacturing industry has been gutted.

“Thousands of workers including from Holden, Toyota, Qantas, SPC, Philip Morris, Rio, BP and Boeing all face an uncertain future.”

“The previous Government identified a looming crisis in manufacturing and set up the tripartite Manufacturing Leaders Group to launch discussion.”

“What has the Abbott Government done? Where is their jobs plan? Thousands of workers are waiting to hear from the Government while at the same time unemployment rises to a ten year high.” 

 “Mr Abbott promised one million new jobs within five years, that’s around six hundred new jobs every day but since he’s come to office, all we’ve seen are job losses.”

“This is on top of Mr Abbott’s plans to cut around 14,000 jobs from the public sector and that’s before the Commission of Audit stumps up with their agenda of cuts to jobs and services.

“As growth softens and unemployment rises, what Australians are looking for is a Government with a plan to address job creation and strengthen the economy.