Australian Manufacturing in 2021 – Building a Better Future

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Australian Manufacturing in 2021 – Building a Better Future

February 2, 2021

Wastech Engineering prides itself on being a forward thinking, progressive manufacturing firm. As part of that, we think it’s valuable to take the time to take stock of the industry and look towards what the next 12 months may bring for our sector. In the wake of 2020, we think that this reflection is more vital than ever. Join us as we examine a few of the trends we may see emerging stronger in 2021.

Changing eating habits drive a shift in F&B manufacturing

With 2020 seeing a majority of Australians stuck in their home for some portion of the year, many turned to more adventurous cooking and baking to pass the time and to replace restaurant visits. Industry experts are tipping that those adopted habits aren’t going anywhere, and the Australian manufacturing sector needs to respond to these in the new year.

A renewed focus on home cooking means a renewed focus on the quality of ingredients, with some experts suggesting that this year may see a move away from generic ‘green’ and ‘all-natural’ products, with more brands instead pursuing external organic certification.

“It’s no longer enough to claim an ‘all-natural’ stance, customers want validation that their products are truly as good as they say they are on the front-of-pack,” said former Murray River Organics CEO Valentina Tripp.

A new dawn for Australia’s biotech manufacturing sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes on the Australian economy. One that could potentially have a lasting impact is a renewed focus on Australia’s own local biotechnology sector.

As the world gets closer to securing a ready supply of vaccines capable of combatting COVID-19, local biotech firms such as CSL have achieved an unprecedented level of renown. CSL itself has been contracted by AstraZeneca to manufacture 50 million doses of the latter’s vaccine at their facility in Melbourne, Australia. Estimates for the total cost of manufacturing, storing, transporting and administering the vaccine run into the billions.

As such, state and federal governments are looking beyond the end of the current crisis, considering how this investment in local industry can continue to pay dividends into the future. One such initiative already in the works is the creation of the largest flu vaccine manufacturing plant in the southern hemisphere. Also located in Melbourne, this new facility plans to be operational by 2026, with a remit to “provide support for pandemic flu, seasonal flu, antivenoms and Q fever”, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt. With some intelligent guidance and the right support, Australia could emerge from COVID-19 as a growing biotech powerhouse.

A revitalisation of Australian manufacturing?

Australia’s status as a service-based economy on the world’s largest island meant that when global supply chains began to fail in early 2020 in response to COVID-19, we felt it more than most. Shortages of everything from foodstuffs to medication, clothing and industrial equipment were felt at different times and by different sectors of the economy as the crisis rolled on.

While shelves have returned to full and many of the shortages have been dealt with to a greater or lesser degree, one thing remains. COVID-19 proved exactly how reliant Australia is on imports, with a global crisis causing mass shortages of basic goods. That lesson has stuck with many politicians and industry figures, who have resolved to strengthen Australia’s own manufacturing capabilities. A total of $1.5 billion will be pumped into the manufacturing sector by the Federal government over the next four years, with a goal of helping local operators scale up their operations, connect to the global market and turn concepts into finished products.

Australia’s manufacturing sector has been declining as a share of gross domestic product since the 1960s, so there’s no certainty that even a substantial shot in the arm will be enough to restore it to its original heights. We can only hope that the lessons of 2020 will not be soon forgotten, and that these lessons will shape policy towards supporting and sustaining local manufacturing operations.

Work with a truly innovative Australian manufacturer

At Wastech Engineering, we’re proud to be part of Australia’s manufacturing community. We’ve had the privilege of developing innovative waste management solutions for some of Australia’s biggest organisations. To learn more about Wastech’s waste & recycling projects, click here.

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