The AFA has recently made a submission to the Federal Government’s Economics References Committee for inquiry into the Manufacturing Sector and report by the first sitting day of Parliament in July 2015.

The Federal Department of Industry is keen to understand what specific regulations and regulatory compliance issues impact manufacturing, particularly in advanced manufacturing techniques.

The AFA spoke directly to a few of its members about how industry-specific regulations impacted their businesses and the sector in which they operate.

These companies identified that in researching the adoption of advanced manufacturing for their businesses, the following challenges included:

  • The cost of equipment and the lack of awareness of what is available to manufacturers wanting to adopt new technologies. Suppliers of this type of equipment are invariably based internationally so education and access is limited.

  • The availability and the cost of skilled labour in using new technologies and equipment is limited by the education programs delivered by registered training organisations in relation to new technologies.

  • The new technologies require appropriate research and testing before full implementation can be undertaken. New technologies will have ‘glitches’ which must be resolved before any substantial investment is made by Australian companies.

  • The development of understanding new technologies and the applicability in the furniture sector requires further education and attention.

The AFA is recognised as the voice of the Furnishing Industry by government, media and the general public. AFA membership includes manufacturers of both residential and commercial furniture, suppliers to the industry, retailers, allied associations and key stakeholders (such as testing and training organisations).

The companies interviewed indicated that the following areas of support would help improve the furniture manufacturing sector:

  • Identify, modify or remove regulatory barriers that would affect their company's ability to reach its full potential.

  • Identify, modify or remove Regulations that limited their company's ability to implement and/or develop new processes, capabilities, technologies, or products.

  • Identify, modify or remove any specific government compliance issues and processes (local, state or federal) that impacted on the productivity of their business. 

The AFA has strong views on the issues of manufacturing more generally and believes that this level of support from government would assist other manufacturing sectors equally and is calling for government consultation in relation to relevant and meaningful changes to be made.

Information relating to the AFA’s position on this inquiry can be found in the AFA Members Area.