Smart Australian Manufacturing Needs Smart Scientists

Thursday, 02 November, 2000

Negative connotations with the word 'manufacturing' in the community need to be abolished. The reality is that companies once involved in 'smoke-stack' manufacturing activities now are evolving into value-adding enterprises offering products and innovative technological solutions for world markets.

Members of the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (AEEMA) are key players in Australia's electrical, electronic and ICT industries. The majority are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have had to transform, and are continually doing so, to survive as smart manufacturers. Correspondingly, smart manufacturers need scientists, engineers, technologists and other professionals to develop the new ideas which give Australian industry a competitive edge over overseas competitors.

"It is important that industry recognises the need for it to play a role in raising the awareness of science in schools," said Angus M Robinson, Executive Director, AEEMA. "The electrical, electronic and ICT industries need creative and well-educated young people to commit to science as a stepping stone towards career opportunities in industry; they will become the future scientists, engineers and technologists of our society. AEEMA is committed to encouraging the take-up of science and technology in schools, and to promoting these as satisfying careers which will ultimately shape Australia's technological and economic future," he added.

AEEMA believes that collaboration amongst a wide section of skilled 'knowledge workers' including industrial designers, software and production engineers, and system integrators across both industry and research sectors is a crucial activity that needs to be fostered. "Collaborative rather than individual effort can only enhance our competitive position as an innovative nation," said Mr Robinson. "A long-term commitment to R&D with appropriate levels of financial incentives fuels the innovation engine, which in turn drives smart manufacturing activities. This in the longer term benefits the nation as a whole."

Mr Robinson said that escalation of the rate of technology diffusion of leading-edge technologies needed to take place. He indicated that whilst AEEMA strongly supported the recommendations of the recently released Miles Innovation Report in this regard, government agencies would need to commit more resources into communicating and marketing the benefits of these proposed initiatives to SMEs. He added that for its part, AEEMA would be working closely with government to further enhance the effectiveness of the Association as an effective communication conduit.

AEEMA, as a technology-driven organisation, has also initiated joint programs with the CSIRO and is exploring various other activities with the universities sector.

For further information please contact: Mr Angus M Robinson on (02) 6247 4655, or via email, or Ms Jennifer Liston on (02) 6247, or via email.

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