COVID-19 has reshaped the way government and business think about economic resilience. The importance of secure and diversified supply chains has been brought into sharp focus.
We’ve learnt Australian manufacturers do not back down from a challenge. Their responsiveness and ingenuity allowed Australia to produce the medical devices and PPE we needed to save lives and protect frontline workers, and the food packaging and essential products we all needed day-to-day.
The continued operation of our core industries was also essential. Acting as ‘keystones’, they have been, and continue to be, vital to the ongoing operation of other critical sectors. For example, Australian steel producers are helping treat air for medical grade oxygen used in hospitals.
Domestic manufacturing is not the only solution to resilience, but it is one way to reduce risk, provide agility and reduce response time and cost. It can also contribute to international supply chains, helping other countries meet their needs. By positioning ourselves as a manufacturing nation and reliable supplier of quality products, Australia can take an enhanced role in helping “solve” global supply chain issues at this critical time.
We will work closely with industry and other jurisdictions to ensure we better understand our supply chains, and to determine the best mechanisms to ensure we can access what we need in times of crisis.
- As part of a broad package of new initiatives to ensure Australia has secure, reliable and resilient supply chains, we are establishing the $107.2 million Supply Chain Resilience Initiative through which we will work closely with industry to better understand supply chains, identify gaps and take action to address them.
- We are also encouraging market diversification by working to increase the reach of our Free Trade Agreements, bolstering economic relationships with regional partners and supporting businesses to engage in digital trade.
- Growing Australia’s network of 14 free trade agreements (FTAs), increasing the reach of our existing FTAs, helping business to engage with digital trade, advocacy in support of open international markets and rules-based trade, removing non-tariff barriers, and enhanced cooperation with key trade partners are our best tools for supporting market diversification.
- We are making trading simpler and cheaper by building an internationally competitive Simplified Trade System which will support market growth and expansion for Australian industry.
- We are taking further steps to strengthen Australia’s liquid fuel security, including working to keep prices low, boosting the resilience of food supplies and ensuring Australia maintains a viable domestic refining industry.