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Australia’s pharmaceutical industry has criticised the federal government for its increasing support of the country’s struggling car industry, suggesting that by just focusing on one sector, manufacturing as a whole is being detrimentally affected.
A far better method, many have suggested, would be to provide manufacturing support based on merit instead. An idea supported by Medicines Australia Chairman, Mark Masterson, who commented earlier this week that a bolstered drugs industry could help support Australia once the current mining boom fades.
With a vision to see medicine manufacturing output and exports double to $14 billion and $8 billion by 2020, Masterson stated:
“A strategic government co-investment fund is critical if we serious about growing our innovative manufacturing sector. This should be a consolidated, industry-neutral fund to which companies from different sectors would have access to on a competitive basis.
“This vision is about sustainable growth, and creating an environment that can attract investment; that can establish Australia as a world-class centre for medical research and drive collaboration between industry and the broader research community.”
The MA Chairman drew attention to the fact that though the federal government had invested almost $5.5 billion into the car industry since late 2008, production numbers had still continued to fall. A stark comparison to the pharmaceutical industry which had received just a fifth of the amount, yet had managed to create 1,000 new positions.
“My point is not to denigrate Australia’s car industry, but the government needs to stop trying to pick winners. It must broaden its outlook and establish an industry-neutral strategic co-investment fund that is distributed on merit to the most deserving projects so the winners would pick themselves.”
Medicines Australia is calling for the government to fund 20 percent of new manufacturing or research and development projects, a move which has the potential to return jobs, innovation and output back to Australia.
There is also call for the government to slash the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, citing the17 percent rate Singapore has initiated and the significantly increased investment pharmaceutical companies have placed into the island as a result.