Opportunity knocks: An overview of Queensland’s manufacturing sector

There continues to be a lot of speculation around the decline of many Australian industries as household-name companies including Qantas, Ford and Telstra, to name just a handful, “offshore” their workforce. Within the manufacturing industry, I’ve heard the ongoing debate about whether-or-not Federal “free trade” economic policies have significantly impacted the sector over the years.

So where should talent be looking when considering to develop their career in the manufacturing industry? I encourage you to turn your search to Queensland.

Undisputed industry contribution.

Impressively, little more than three years ago in 2014-15, the manufacturing industry injected more than $20.3 billion dollars into the Queensland economy according to the Department of State Development. Equal to more than 7% of the state’s total wealth, this solid contribution was a direct result of improved and dedicated focus towards research and development initiatives by Queensland manufacturing businesses.

With forecasts for a further 4% economic growth in 2017, the potential in Queensland for both innovative individuals and businesses looks to be stronger than all other states. Leading the way are three manufacturing segments including: processed foods & beverages, metal products & machinery and equipment manufacturing which currently offer great employment opportunities.

A state dedicated to growth.

I’ve often heard clients talk about the everyday advantages, including low set-up and running costs that businesses can benefit from by setting up operations in Queensland. However, beyond tax breaks and plenty of sunshine, I believe the most beneficial area of support to the manufacturing industry is the Government’s absolute commitment and funding to create an unrivaled state known for its innovative products, services and manufacturing capabilities.

An exciting example of this commitment, is the Made In Queensland program, a dedicated $20 million state-wide program, designed specifically to support Queensland’s manufacturing industry by giving local manufacturers the opportunity to work closely with Government, while implementing new innovation and technological processes to raise their international market competitiveness.

A further $7.6 million dollars will be invested by the Government over three years towards The Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap; a robust 10-year action plan that aims to stimulate additional growth of both the sector and the economy by helping to move the industry from traditional to advanced manufacturing.

Advanced manufacturing focus.

So, what is ‘Advanced Manufacturing’? John Pollaers, Chairman of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) describes advanced manufacturing as being about globalisation and innovation. “Advanced manufacturers are involved in the development of new markets, new products, new technologies and new ways to manufacture existing products”.

In Queensland, for enterprising talent (and businesses looking to hire such talent) specifically looking to unlock advanced manufacturing opportunities, areas such as automotive & transport, food & beverage, defense, aerospace, industrial biotechnology and renewable energy, can provide you with competitive advantage over your peers in rival states.

If you’re still not convinced, the state is recognised as a global innovation hot spot by the World Bank; pretty impressive stuff, let’s be honest. This accolade, together with the Government's ongoing investment into high-end research capacity is also attracting some of the world's best scientists and researchers to the industry in Queensland.

The future of Australian business and industry may just well lie in Queensland. Locally, Brisbane-based manufacturer and supplier Signet remind us of the real benefits that can come when you make substantial investment towards bringing manufacturing back from Asia to Australia. The business realised the potential for meeting increasing customer demand for plastic films and bags produced locally, meaning shorter lead times and productions runs. Coined “on-shoring” in the USA, Signet’s gutsy business decision, demonstrates the real viability for innovation and efficiency within the industry. Opportunity really does knock.


If you would like to have a discussion about the Queensland market, get in touch with the Director of our Brisbane office, Kristan De Sousa.