The last two years have seen an increase in how much Australians appreciate manufacturing, according to new research released on Friday by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.
Comparing the views of a similarly-sized group of respondents in 2019 versus this year, the group’s Perceptions of Australian Manufacturing report found 72 per cent of Australians viewed manufacturing as important or very important to the economy, up seven per cent.
Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said that manufacturing was a vital capability and deserved to be discussed and understood by Australians.
“However, sometimes people’s perceptions do not reflect the reality or what we have told them in the past. This is significant because a person’s, or nations’, perception of manufacturing affects everything, from their purchasing decisions to career choices and the makeup of our economy,” Goennemann told @AuManufacturing.
In 2021 versus 2019, those viewing the industry as important to Australia’s standard of living rose from 63 per cent to 69 per cent.
Eighty per cent believed it was important to buy Australian-made goods where possible.
There were small increases over the two years in the proportion of Australians who believe locally-manufactured products were of a better quality than imports (currently 63 per cent) as well as worth paying more for (58 per cent) and in those who saw the industry as globally competitive (up from 46 to 48 per cent) and high-tech (up from 49 to 50 per cent.)
It was necessary to do a better job putting manufacturing in context in a changing world, Mr Goennemann said. He cited a figure of 75 per cent of global trade being in intermediate goods, and Australian contributions through components to final products including some of the world’s most sophisticated automobiles and jets.
A better understanding of the breadth of manufacturing was important.
“The great thing is that we have already a very positive appreciation base to grow from,” Mr Goennemann said.
“By contrasting the publics’ view of manufacturing before the pandemic to now gives us a snapshot of how our collective understanding is evolving. It also highlights what best influences our perceptions and what needs to be done to build on this positive momentum to grow our onshore capability and its appreciation.”
The survey was based on a sample of 1,007 Australians. The report can be read here.
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