Announcing: National Manufacturing Summit 2017

"Converting Opportunity Into Action"

Wednesday 21 June 2017 | Australian Parliament House, Canberra


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After years of downsizing and pessimism, there are encouraging signs that manufacturing industry in Australia may be turning a corner. Employment and new orders have grown. Business optimism is improving. And Australians still firmly believe that a healthy manufacturing sector is crucial to national prosperity.

The Centre for Future Work and The Australia Institute are proud to host the National Manufacturing Summit, a one-day gathering at Parliament House.

Hear these speakers: 

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Robert Kuttner
U.S. Economic Journalist

Laura Tingle
Political Editor,
Australian Financial Review

Richard Denniss
Chief Economist,
The Australia Institute

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Roy Green
UTS Business School

David Turvey
Dept. of Industry,
Innovation & Science

Jill Sheppard
Australian National University



Grant Anderson
Chief Executive Officer
The ANCA Group


… and political leaders from across the spectrum:

Minister for Industry Senator Arthur Sinodinos
Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Industry
Senator Nick Xenophon, Leader, Nick Xenophon Team
Senator Lee Rhiannon, Spokesperson for Industry, Australian Greens


Register now


Keynote Speaker


Robert Kuttner | Heller School, Brandeis University; and Co-Editor of The American Prospect

Manufacturing Jobs and the Well-Being of Our Communities: A View From the U.S.

The loss of manufacturing jobs has caused widespread, lasting hardship in many industrial societies. And now, in the wake of Brexit and Trump, the political consequences of that ongoing hardship can no longer be ignored. Why is manufacturing work so important to the well-being of communities, and what can be done to start repairing the damage?

Our Goal: Gather experts from industry, the policy community, higher education, and the media to discuss the renewed positive potential for Australian manufacturing, consider how the industry is presently perceived, identify barriers to its future expansion, and propose initiatives to accelerate the sector’s innovation and growth.

Speakers and panels: Includes industry leaders, policy experts, political leaders, and journalists.


For years, Australians have heard mostly “bad” news from manufacturing: losses, closures, and redundancies. They could be forgiven for assuming this sector has no future. But that pessimism is badly misplaced: in fact, this is a unique moment of opportunity for Australian manufacturing. The rebalancing of the national economy (in light of changing trade patterns, commodity prices, and exchange rates) creates important openings for advanced manufacturing. And Australia’s proven capacities for innovation and design are another crucial advantage. Already there are encouraging signs that manufacturers are taking advantage of these opportunities: employment in the sector increased significantly over the last year.

The Centre for Future Work has documented the structural and strategic importance of manufacturing to Australia: its unique innovation, its crucial contributions to national exports, its superior productivity and income-generating potential, its extensive supply chain linkages. (See our recent report for details)

Now we are assembling a diverse group of industry stakeholders to build on this opportunity – by elevating the prominence of manufacturing in policy debates and public awareness. In fact, average Australians already know that a strong manufacturing sector is essential: recent opinion research published in the Fairfax media suggested public support for manufacturing was stronger, and broader, than any other issue their pollsters tested. We believe that a cross-sectoral alliance of stakeholders can leverage this sentiment, and translate it into action.

Please join us in Canberra on June 21, 2017 for a day that will document and celebrate the positive potential of innovative, advanced, sustainable manufacturing to Australia’s future prosperity.

The National Manufacturing Summit is hosted by the Australia Institute and the Centre for Future Work.

The following organisations are co-sponsors of the Summit, and we thank them for their support!

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