Water Journal : Water Journal April 2011
feature article feature articles 68 APRIL 2011 water Advantages of a Healthy Local Industry The benefits to Australia in having a sound water industry, including manufacturing, are manifold. A local base of knowledge and expertise allows solutions to be tailored more closely to Australian circumstances. Maintenance of a local industry is also important because it ensures responsiveness. Supply chains are shorter and there is greater potential to tailor products for local requirements. It provides the opportunity for our innovations to be brought to market and for our emerging professionals, scientists and tradespeople to have a practical base to learn from and contribute to. Australia will, of course, always be an importer of services and equipment to some degree. It is highly doubtful that manufacturers and consultants will be able to meet all of the requirements of local industry. There may also be commercial advantages to local firms in importing equipment or services. Nevertheless, it is hard to see that there would be an advantage to Australia in losing its water industry manufacturing or servicing capabilities, even if there is short-term commercial advantage in purchasing such products from other markets. Those manufacturers that operate in Australia are efficient. Two decades of exposure of the Australian economy to market forces has stimulated sound management, investment in new technology and capability, and fostered efficiency in the use of labour and materials, and in the production process. The only reason Australian firms still manufacture pipes, pumps, meters, plant and operating equipment is because the industry is competitive domestically and, in many cases, globally. A Dark Cloud on the Horizon So what of the current cloud on the horizon: the rising Australia dollar? The A$ is now at a higher level than it has been since it was first floated against almost all currencies. While the $A is generally sold down when the market perceives that global economic risks are high -- witness the dip in the A$ recently following the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident -- our resources boom appears to be perceived by the market as being a sustained one, at least in the medium term. The rise of the A$ is, therefore, unlikely to be reversed soon. As is widely understood, a rising A$ increases the cost of exports and reduces the cost of imports. If the dollar remains high, the viability of aspects of the Australian water industry may be threatened. For consultants and technical specialists, the impact may be less severe. There may be a tendency for skills to be imported and, conceivably, for Australian skilled personnel to migrate if there is not sufficient work for them in For more information visit www.plasson.com.au For sales call Australian distributor Vinidex 13 11 69 Or call Plasson • NSW (02) 9550 2291 • VIC/SA/TAS (03) 9772 8799 • QLD/NT (07) 5477 5088 • WA 0414 274 047 WSAA APPRAISED ELECTROFUSION PE HYDRANT SADDLE CONNECTION. THE ONE AND ONLY. Full faced PE flange suitable for DN80 / DN100 hydrants. WSAA Appraisal 98/50. PN0173 Exposure to market forces has stimulated sound management and investment in new technologies.
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