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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6187

Ms BURKE (Chisholm) (19:05): We have been speaking a great deal in this House today about manufacturing. I want to talk about manufacturing in my electorate of Chisholm. Given that my electorate is pretty much wall-to-wall suburbs, you would not think that manufacturing goes on there, but it does make up a significant proportion of the area mass. My electorate sits within the south-east of Melbourne which accounts for 44 per cent of Victoria's total manufacturing production. Victoria has been home to manufacturing for a long time and I truly want to see it continue. As many have said before, I do not want to belong to a country where we do not produce and manufacture our own goods.

Many of the companies in this region possess world-leading technologies in specialist fields and a number are recognised as some of Victoria's leading exporters. There are many manufacturers in my electorate who are doing great things and I do not think we recognise them enough. I want to share some of those local successes tonight. Maton Guitars is a 100 per cent family owned company that has been going for over 50 years in Australia. It is a maker of custom made guitars that are sold both in Australia and internationally. Maton is recognised as one of the guitars of choice for most guitar players. You will see on their website a list of renowned players, both at the classical and at the pop end of the market, who boast a Maton guitar in their collection. They are doing great things. They have actually expanded their production and have been rewarded many times for their works.

Unidrive, which was established in 1952, is a leading manufacturer of drive shafts for automobile applications. It employs many hundreds of people on its site in Clayton. It is a major component supplier to Australian vehicle manufacturers Holden, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Ford and has an ongoing relationship with Toyota in its production and quality line.

Jardan, based in Mount Waverley, makes top-quality furniture. In its beginnings in 1987 it made one lounge suite per week—they are very high end and highly crafted. It is now producing many more. The company has won numerous business awards, and I can highly recommend the quality of its furniture.

Dulux, which is a household name, has its home base within Clayton as well. It also has its research and development arm within the electorate. It goes from strength to strength, having built a high-tech environmental plant within the area, employing many hundreds of people. Orica, which is interrelated with Dulux, is another household name. It is listed globally, operates in 50 countries and is based within my electorate.

Consequently, manufacturing is an important part of my community. It employs many people, not just within those places but in the downstream components that make up the many bits and pieces of this sector. Tragically, though, manufacturing has been facing its challenges. Recently Bosch—again, a very big employer in my electorate—announced that it would be outsourcing and sending overseas several of its production lines. This is a great shame. The R&D for these production lines was done in Australia, and they are going overseas before we do anything about carbon, in many respects because of the high Australian dollar.

I have recorded my disappointment at Bosch's decision to send these 380 jobs overseas. The current site employs 1,800 people. This number will be reduced. The site will continue to have a very large presence of white-collar workers who do a lot of the research and development for their end productions, but we will be seeing fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs at this site.

This comes on top of the loss of the Arnott's biscuit factory in Burwood, where several years ago more than 400 people lost their jobs. Silcraft, another great car components factory, shut down, with another 450 jobs lost. Every time one of these factories closes in my electorate it becomes a housing site. Every time we give up these sites, people build homes on them. It is a middle-ring area and people want to live there because, bizarrely, although it is 20 kilometres out of town it is now closer to the city than most other places and it is a good place to live; there are schools and there is transport. But if we keep giving up on these sites we will lose the manufacturing base and we will lose those jobs that are close to home, that you can drive to. We will also lose the inflow jobs. When Arnott's left it was not just the jobs on site that were lost; it was all the downstream production.

The federal government is aware of these issues, and we are putting in place many initiatives to ensure that we continue to have a manufacturing base in our electorate. The government has developed a 10-year innovation agenda, Powering ideas: an innovation agenda for the 21st century. Within the federal budget there was also money for suburbs and for ensuring that people stay within the suburbs to work, rest and play. More needs to be done for manufacturing in Victoria. (Time expired)