Equipping the New Manufacturing Sector - the Toolbox project

Posted: 24th Aug

Manufacturing is Alive and Well

The Toolbox project arose from discussion with the Federal Government policy officers (Anthony Murfett and others)  behind the Growth Centres and was stimulated by press statements saying manufacturing was dead in Australia. We met with the chair of the Growth Centre – Andrew Stevens and discussed what his focus (190 large organisations) was and what our should be (the 80,000 other manufacturers)
The project is national and currently includes Qld Gov, CSIRO, Trade & Investment, State Library, Outsource Institute, RDA Brisbane and some others, including other states and RDAs across the country. The project focuses on the broader manufacturing sector including primary and processing, and covers export, management & workforce skills, R&D and collaboration.
The Toolbox was launched last week and is now being promoted through partner networks, government and councils.
We are configuring an Agribusiness version – where we display only the manufacturers with Ag Solutions – robotics, drones, farm machinery, farm management systems, tags, weighing, sensors, chemicals, agriscience, tractors, telecomms etc etc. We have begun that discussion with Elders and Landmark and Ruralco.
The Showcase section now includes 4,500 manufacturers and producers of all kinds at this stage and the database grows daily. At this stage roughly 1500 from Qld, 1000 – NSW, 1000-Vic, 300 - SA, 300-WA, 170 – TAS, 100 - ACT, 50 - NT. 
We will now configure 13-15 "shop windows" for each of the major export markets populated with the manufacturers of interest to them eg Taiwan = green, IoT, food & ag, defence, biotech etc
We have been focusing on showcasing products and services to external markets, but it has been pointed out that we could showcase to Australia as well
The SEQ councils are now promoting to their local businesses and encouraging them to sign up. Likewise Tasmania, and NT will do so after their election.
Plus contacted Sydney RDA – re Western Sydney cluster. The SEMMA re SE Melbourne cluster is mostly already included.
Sunshine Coast want to discuss how we can include their businesses in the national showcase and also have a local window to promote a "buy local" program to the region plus match surrounding metro horticultural agribusinesses with their local market.
Also at various stages of engagement with Ipswich, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Northern Rivers, Logan, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
Each region has a slightly different focus and viewpoint as you would expect.
But step one, they are all encouraging their local manufacturers and primary producers to sign up for free.
Beyond that some regions have now asked for proposals to configure for their region with some specific needs.

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