OPINION: Which industry does the government back and why?

IT sometimes beggars belief what industries the Federal Government will support and what ones it won't.

The Abbott Government is backing the shipbuilding industry in South Australia, but was prepared to throw the car industry to the wall.

We've also been promised that part of any future submarine project will be built (or assembled) in Australia.

I like that we build things in this country and keep high-end manufacturing jobs.

But generally the manufacturing industry has been going backwards as cheap imports via our free trade agreements flood the market.

It's going to be a very hard transition to the sort of economy we're likely to have in the future which is more geared around the service sector particularly in finance, education, research and tourism.

Mining and agriculture are also going to be key components of our economic future and the idea to make the Northern Territory an international 'food bowl' is a good one.

But during this transition the government is going to have to back some winners.

Many would argue that promising shipbuilding jobs in South Australia is just a vote buying exercise.

Many more would say we shouldn't be building ships in this country at all and that wages are too high.

Better still, products from tried and tested shipbuilders overseas are a whole lot cheaper.

Whether it's a vote buying exercise or backing jobs, I'd like us to continue to make stuff in this country.


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