HOW CAN Australia define and improve its sovereign manufacturing capability to ensure national resilience during unplanned events such as the global pandemic?
This is one of the questions to be addressed by the next public hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade’s inquiry into the implications of the pandemic for Australia’s defence, trade and international relations.
Witnesses from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre and Ethical Clothing Australia will talk about manufacturing resilience, the importance of strong local supply chains and how businesses can collaborate for improved results.
Committee chair Senator David Fawcett said, "Knowing what it is the nation needs our industry to be able to provide at short notice and ensuring the capability for flexible and innovative adaptation in the manufacturing sector is one of the precursors to successful crisis response".
"This inquiry will explore not only how to ensure Australia’s manufacturing sector is resilient to a crisis, but also the opportunities the pandemic provides for improving collaboration and productivity into the future," Senator Fawcett said.
Jens Goennemann, the managing director of AMGC, will discuss the organisation's submission and describe AMGC’s COVID response. This includes the creation of the Manufacturer Response Register that has been able to connect manufacturing capability with areas of need.
Full terms of reference for the inquiry are on the committee website.
Public hearing details:
Date: Thursday, 9 July 2020
Time: 3pm – 4.30pm AEST
Location: By teleconference
The hearings will be audio streamed live at aph.gov.au/live
THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell is backing the nation’s peak accounting bodies which have today called on the Federal Government to provide small businesses with better access to financial advice through a voucher system.
CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ have issued a joint statement requesting a government-funded voucher system to ensure small businesses can access urgently needed professional advice on their viability once stimulus measures end in September.
The proposal is in line with ASBFEO’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan, which recommends a small business viability voucher program.
“Small businesses have endured some of the toughest trading conditions we’ve ever seen in Australia over the past few months,” Ms Carnell said.
“ABS data tells us 900,000 businesses are getting JobKeeper payments and about 690,000 businesses have received emergency cash flow assistance, while 38 percent of businesses still trading have renegotiated their rent arrangements.
“Two thirds of businesses were still reporting reduced revenue in June. Of those about a third were reporting revenue losses of 50 percent or more.
“Small businesses with cash flow issues, compounded by falling revenue, may find getting the professional financial advice they need unaffordable. The ramifications of this could be devastating, both for the business and its owner and family, down the line," Ms Carnell said.
“That’s why our COVID-19 Recovery Plan recommends the establishment of a small business viability voucher program, where small business owners facing financial stress can obtain a voucher valued up to $5,000 to access tailored advice on how and whether to turn around their business.
“Under the program, a business owner (or their accountant) would apply for the voucher with services provided by a relevant accredited professional.
“This would ensure small businesses have access to expertise in judging business viability, so they can make an informed decision about whether to turn their business around or exit.
“The advisor would be paid directly by the government to the accredited professional up to the value of the voucher," she said.
“Ultimately, we want to see as many small businesses come out the other side of this difficult period as possible – getting a tailored business plan is critical to their survival.”
THE Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) said the decision to close the Victoria–New South Wales border was disappointing but necessary.
AFTA, the peak industry body which represents 3000 travel agents and their 40,000 employees, has been working constructively with government as well as other industry associations, and key stakeholders in the tourism sector.
AFTA CEO, Darren Rudd said, “AFTA will continue to work collaboratively with government at a Federal, State and Territory level to constructively navigate these incredibly confronting times.
“We acknowledge that the primary focus of government and health authorities is protecting lives and containing the spread, whilst also re-booting the economy in a sensible way.”
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) is the peak body in Australia representing the retail travel industry. Founded in 1957, AFTA represents the majority of travel agents in Australia and includes all of the major travel agency groups. AFTA’s role is to uphold the interests of members in matters relating to the operation of all travel agencies in Australia. In broad terms these issues are ones that are not addressed by agent chain or corporate entities on behalf of their members, and are ones that involve the industry as a whole.
THIS WEEK the House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs will hold its first two public hearings for its inquiry into homelessness in Australia.
On Tuesday, July 7, the committee will hear from government agencies, research institutes, and other organisations about the extent of homelessness in the Australian community and the programs and services in place to support those experiencing homelessness and those at risk.
On Wednesday, July 8, the committee will hear further from some of Australia’s largest community organisations involved in providing housing and homelessness services.
Chair of the Committee, Andrew Wallace MP, said the committee was keen to hear from witnesses about the challenges in supporting the homeless, particularly in the current environment, and about what further actions can be taken by all tiers of government, the not‑for-profit and private sectors to assist those most in need.
"These hearings are an opportunity to learn about the work of the homelessness sector in supporting some of our most vulnerable people, and about where there could be improvements to services to ensure as many of our homeless as possible are supported," Mr Wallace said.
'The committee is also keen to hear about how governments around Australia and the homelessness sector have worked during the COVID-19 situation to continue to provide essential support services to those experiencing homelessness and those at risk."
In order to ensure public safety during the COVID-19 situation, witnesses will participate in the hearing remotely, via teleconference. Interested members of the public are invited to listen to the live broadcast, available at aph.gov.au/live.
Further information, including hearing programs and submissions to the inquiry, is available on the Committee’s website.
Public hearing details
Date: Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Time: 10am to 5.10pm
Location: Via teleconference
Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2020
Time: 9am to 3pm
Location: Via teleconference