Manufacturing could be an increasingly important industry for Queensland, as rising consumption from Asia means Australia is ideally placed for exporting goods.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said the country has traditionally suffered due to its geographical distance from important international trading hubs, but this trend looks set to change.
The expanding middle classes in China and India are key to this switch, with the two nations evolving into heavily consumer-based economies. A boost for manufacturing could have a positive impact on employment in the sector, which may lead to more opportunities for Queensland-based apprentices and trainees.
David Thompson, an adviser at CCIQ partner firm Wilson HTM Investment, claimed Australian companies must concentrate on innovation, productivity and business strategy to take advantage of a manufacturing resurgence.
He said the food and beverage industry is particularly important to the country’s economy, as it was the largest manufacturing industry in 2012-13. According to Mr Thompson, the segment contributed 23.5 per cent towards manufacturing revenues, with $7.1 billion of net exports.
“Australia is viewed as a high-quality producer of safe food worldwide and there is a major opportunity to grow our exports, particularly to Asia,” he explained.
“It has not been plain sailing for our food industry though, with volatile conditions in our domestic market and rapidly changing consumer habits.”
Success in Brisbane
Mr Thompson was quick to point out success stories of manufacturing firms that have the right approach in the current economic climate – one of which is Brisbane-based Capilano Honey.
The company is Australia’s leading honey business, boasting a 74 per cent share of the market. Established more than 60 years ago, the organisation has expanded substantially in recent times.
Capilano managed to boost its half-year profits by 73 per cent year on year in its latest financial report, with success largely due to revenue growth and better margins.
“Capilano has had a strong focus on marketing and branding to drive their financial success,” Mr Thompson stated.
“These initiatives have included a refreshed digital and social media strategy, an expanded product range with new premium honey products and a range of new honey health products.”
He added that Capilano has seen its share market performance drastically improve because of its new approach, resulting in stock prices quadrupling in just two years.
This performance is expected to continue into the future as the Australian dollar drops and both domestic and export goods enjoy healthy growth.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator