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Weld Australia

Shadow Minister O'Connor to Address Workforce Capability & Availability at National Manufacturing Summit

Shadow Minister O’Connor to Address Workforce Capability & Availability at National Manufacturing Summit

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry, Science and Small and Family Business, will address delegates at the National Manufacturing Summit tomorrow, Thursday 22 August. 


There is widespread evidence that Australia’s manufacturing sector is experiencing a period of sustained growth. In July, the Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI®) rose by 1.9 points to 51.3, indicating growth across manufacturing production, sales, exports and new orders.


However, industry participants continue to cite a critical constraint: workforce capability and availability. 


According to Geoff Crittenden (CEO, Weld Australia), “Finding and retaining skilled workers is front of mind for manufacturing industry business owners and operators, as is maintaining currency of skills and knowledge. Australia requires a significant increase in skilled, qualified trades workers to meet future demand on major projects in industries as diverse as defence, shipbuilding, aerospace, infrastructure, rolling stock, and resources.”


“A targeted strategy for workforce development is crucial and will require the manufacturing industry, federal and state governments, and the VET sector to work together to ensure its success.”


Shadow Minister O’Connor is expected to focus on both the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturing. According to Shadow Minister O’Connor, “As a country we must choose to build a nation rich in educational, training and employment opportunities, with a broad based engine of economic growth.”


“Lifting skills to ensure the workforce is prepared for the jobs of the future is crucial to future employment security and better wages. It requires bipartisanship and collaboration, none of which can be achieved without leadership, a plan, and vision from the current Government.”


2019 marks the third National Manufacturing Summit; the event was held in both 2018 and 2017 at Australian Parliament House in Canberra. Attended each year by over 100 delegates, the Summit program is designed to open new ground in the policy dialogue over how to sustain and nurture manufacturing: a vital segment of Australia’s economy. The 2019 Summit will be held at the Australian Synchrotron in Clayton, Melbourne.


For further information, visit:


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Media Attendance

To confirm attendance or request a media pass to the National Manufacturing Summit, please contact: Donna South (Marketing & Communications Manager, Weld Australia) on +61 409 609 031 or

Further Information & Interviews

For information and interviews, please contact: Geoff Crittenden (Chief Executive Officer, Weld Australia) on +61 439 944 033 or



About Weld Australia

Weld Australia represents the welding profession in Australia. Its members are made up of individual welding professionals and companies of all sizes. Weld Australia members are involved almost every facet of Australian industry and make a significant contribution to the nation’s economy. The primary goal of Weld Australia is to ensure that the Australian welding industry remains locally and globally competitive, both now and into the future. Weld Australia is the Australian representative member of the International Institute of Welding (IIW). For more information or to join Weld Australia, please visit:



About The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry, Science, Small and Family Business

Brendan O'Connor is the Federal Member for Gorton and the Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry, Science, Small and Family Business. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2001 as the Member for Burke. At the 2004 federal election, Brendan was elected to the newly created electoral division of Gorton. He was re-elected at the 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections. Prior to entering Parliament, Brendan was a Union official from 1986 to 2001, most recently Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union from 1993 to 2001. Brendan holds a BA and a LLB from Monash University, and a Diploma, Harvard Trade Union Program, Har