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The Business -

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(generated from captions) latest bat where will remains a

war of words. Manufacturing is

back at the Cabinet table after

last week's reshuffle and not a

moment too soon. The sector is

still grappling with the

changes being wrought on our

economy by the high dollar,

cost cutting and offshoring. A

short time ago, I spoke to Mr

Greg Combet from our Parliament

House studio. Welcome to the

program. Thanks. Before we hit manufacturing, just one

question around what some in

business are thinking at the

moment. Why would the Treasurer

today attack those who brought competition into mining

essentially and who've taken on

the Rios and the BHP Billitons

when he or government at the

same time has really done a

private deal with those big

fell wras which allows them to

revalue lieu assets which

potentially means they could be

paying a lot less fax? I think

what the Treasurer's pointing

to is that the self-interest of

a number of quite prominent

business people has taken

centre stage? Some of the big

debates in recent years about

the tax treatment of the

minerals industry and carbon

pricing for example, and yet

really what we need to be debating is the national

interest, and that's what the

government is acting upon.

interest to make sure that we We're acting in the national

can share the benefits of the

mining boom with the rest the Australian community. He is

drawing attention to the need

to cut through some of the guff

that you sometimes see occupy

public debate and to get to the

core of the issues and that is

how we help working people

through a period of adjustment

in our economy. You don't see a

double standard with the deal

done between government and the

very big miners? No, what I see

is a strong focus on policy

issues. Make the minerals

resource rent tax for a minute.

What we're doing is trying to

share the benefits of the

mining boom with the rest of

the economy by cutting company

fax for all companies, of

course including small business, by giving small

business a special $6,500

instant asset write-off, by

putting $6 billion aside into a

regional infrastructure fund

and by boosting retirement savings for Australian working

people. They're pretty

important policy outcomes and sometimes some of the

self-interest of some of the

business people involved in the

debate gets in the way. We

speak a lot on this program to

manufacturers. As a sector

aside from cars I think it's

fair to say they feel a bit

ignored in terms of the social

value that manufacturing can

bring in terms of the

distribution of wealth, which

can be a lot greater than

mining and so far that doesn't

seem to be a lot of coherent policy around

manufacturing? Firstly, can I

acknowledge all of the good

work that my predecessor in the

role Senator Kim Carr has done

and it is certainly not the

case that manufacturing should

feel ignored. Senator car spent

an awful lot of time working

manufacturing industry and did with people in the

a great job. I will continue to

do so and of course some of the

industries like the car

industry or the aluminium

of stress from the high dollar sector that are feeling a lot

hand in aluminium's price

falling commodity prices they're receiving a lot of

attention and understandably

so. What we really have ahead

of us here is an important

trance pormation in the

Australian economy of the we've

got to boost productist and

competitiveness and look to

opportunities for the future

for our manufacturing industry,

because as you say, it's very important. There's a million

people employed in it, and the

government will manage economic policy and manufacturing policy

in the interests of working

people. They've got a lot of

eschews. One that comes up a

lot is consultation with

government. I will give you an

example. Submissions closed

today I understand on the

coastal shipping policy which

is really important for a lot

of manufacturers. And I also

understand that I think it's

the transport mother wants

legislation in his office on

Friday. Now, if true that makes

a mockery of the process of

serious consideration of input

from manufacturers doesn't

it? I don't think so. The shipping industry policy has

been around for a long, long

time now. It was announced many

months ago by minister

Albanese. There's been a good

deal of opportunity through

many business forums to comment

on that and many other policies. Manufacturing is

extremely important and the

government takes it extremely

importantly. Many working

families depend on it. The

views of manufacturers are very

important to the government in

policy settings. I will be

setting about talking with the

manufacturing sector about many

of the policy issues. We got a

manufacturing task force that

the Prime Minister established.

There is ample opportunity for

manufacturers to have input into government policy I can

assure you. There is some

concern at the suspending or

cancelling of some industry

programs, seemingly overnight,

and some in your previous

portfolio, insulation, solar

hot water and solar panels have

been suspended or downgraded.

Industry is starting to ask,

what could be next? I think

this is all a bit overblown.

You're refering to something, I

still have my portfolio as well

as industry and innovation.

That was the thing you're

referring to concerns solar hot

water systems, a subsidy

program or a rebate program. It

was due to go for five years.

And due to end on 30 June this

year. And the major

manufacturers, for example

Rheem had foreshadowed on its

web site that would close by

the end of March. It was well

known it was closing. So we'll certainly consult with the

manufacturers in that area, but

we shouldn't lose sight of the

big picture here. The high value of the Australian dollar

is causing a lot of competitive

pressure in the economy. It's

impacting in particular in the

manufacturing sector. And the

issue here is not that the

government can somehow

underwrite exchange rate risk.

No government can do that for

the manufacturing sector. The

issue here is to look for the

future to see how we can

support industries, important

industries a we have like the

steel industry and the car industry, become more

international environment, competitive in the

become more integrated in

global supply chains and international marketplaces and

to look to where jobs are

growing and the future is for

manufacturing. I'm sure there

will be many manufacturers

beating a path to your door

especially now the portfolio is