Topics: Manufacturing Modernisation fund recipients & the return of the Polly Waffle
David Koch: An iconic Aussie chocolate bar is making a comeback amid a push to boost local manufacturing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Polly Waffle was last seen on supermarket shelves in 2009 but South Australian company Robern Menz will receive one million dollars from the Federal Government to help set up a state-of-the-art production line in Adelaide, creating 38 new jobs. Its part of a $54 million fund to support small and medium-sized businesses.
Joining me now is Industry, Science and Technology Minister, Karen Andrews. Minister, thanks for joining us. Great news for Adelaide and Polly Waffle lovers – what sort of assistance will this fund provide more widely?
Karen Andrews: Yes and it’s great to be able to speak with you this morning and it’s not just about politicians waffling on, it’s actually about the real deal – the Polly Waffle – that everyone could actually enjoy. But behind this is a million dollars in Commonwealth funding that will go towards building a new production line to produce the Polly Waffle, and in the process will create 38 ongoing jobs.
So it’s a big win for South Australia, for Australia and its part of a broader program – the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund – that we’re rolling out the announcement today. Two hundred projects worth $215 million to drive manufacturing, to drive jobs. It’s going to deliver over 2500 jobs. So this is the Government getting behind manufacturing.
David Koch: Because manufacturing’s not dead in Australia, is it? We just have to think about what we do best and pick our niches. Is this the rationale behind the fund? That we may be relying too much on imports and let’s stimulate manufacturing where we can be globally competitive?
Karen Andrews: Yep. Absolutely. We have done a lot of work as a Government on manufacturing pre-COVID. Obviously, we’re looking at things now through the COVID lens in terms of what we need to do for the future.
But manufacturing in Australia is actually quite strong; it’s actually our seventh largest employer as an industry. But we’ve got to be very focused on our niche. Where do we compete well? Where are we competitive? And how can we grow that? So don’t be all things to all people; let’s look at what we do well and keep doing it.
David Koch: Alright. Karen Andrews, thanks for joining us.