The Challenges Confronting our Industry
Like many, our indsutry is confronted with demonstrable everyday challenges, including the maintenance of commercial activity, reduced profit margins and constantly increasing operational overheads.
Specific aspects of sustainability vary by entertainment technology sector, and in this narrative, we will focus on those impacting manufacturers, in the knowledge that some of the themes affect the entire industry.
The notion that Australia cannot compete internationally as a manufacturer is a false generalisation promoted in part by vested interests, in a landscape of diminishing leadership and inadequate government support. The historic reliance on mining and primary industry will not sustain Australia moving forward, the nation has to create and value add to support employment and commercial growth with a particular focus on export.
ACETA fully intends to lead, unify and create development opportunity for the entertainment technology industry. At this point it needs to be stated that the views expressed herein are accepted in the public domain or are the considered opinions of the author and not that of the ACETA board of management or its administration.
Australia is one of the most over-administrated nations on the planet, with three layers of government, federal, state and local, two of which consist of both a house of representatives and a senate, five distinct entities in total, all with a substantial public service. Few nations can boast such a vast array of governance nor the cost impost it delivers.
All layers of government local, state and federal have their hand in every one’s pocket extracting numerous tax variants some transparent, many not. Therefore, we can begin with the fact that over administration and, in relative terms, a massive public service sector, imposes a significant cost burden on individuals and business.
The over-administration also results in duplication, validation of positions and departments, vast amounts of rules and regulation, lots of can and can’t do resulting in complexity and red tape.
This landscape may be bearable for well-resourced big guys but insurmountable for the majority, who are too small to confront the daunting complexity we call red tape. The regime that tackles the national constitution and reduces the layers of government to two (local and federal), will be forever acclaimed by the electorate, particularly if they allocate savings to decentralisation, infrastructure and the resourcing of manufacturing to increase commercial activity and employment, all of which creates new taxpayers.
The above described scenario undermines the capability of small enterprise in accessing the resources that may be available, and compared to those we compete with, Australian manufacturers are under-supported. It seems our competitor nations understand the critical importance of value adding, a sector often populated by small to medium sized enterprises, once the back bone of this nation.
A skills shortage is undermining our manufacturing sector, and in some instances has forced companies to produce off-shore. Education in this country has become well and truly commodified with elements of the tertiary system focussed on lucrative export markets, whilst the TAFE system is no longer addressing core trades vital to our sector. The vast number of degrees being issued is undermining a once prestigious achievement, with industry reporting many degree students devoid of passion, aptitude or experience in their subject matter.
ACETA is addressing this issue from the inside. All local manufacturers have to sustain themselves initially in a very small market place compared to their USA or European competitors who have infinitely greater numbers of clients on their door step. In addition, our southern hemisphere location places us a great and costly distance from most major markets.
This is one of the reasons that our producers are incredibly resilient; they have to be. But on the rare occasion a door opens we are a force to be reckoned with, and for the few who have made it on the world stage we should be proud. Of critical importance is the expanding leadership vacuum that is not just confined to our industry, but a concern generally and as a starting point look at the example set by government.
However space restrictions don’t allow further examination, maybe another time.
ACETA is across the leadership issue and developing responses to assist the membership. The story so far depicts the glass half empty type narrative that many manufacturers fall in to, and there are many other challenges not mentioned, however we have chosen to live in this country and we have chosen to base our enterprises in this country, why?
Do you want to live and work anywhere else? At the end of the day, and challenges aside, Australia is still a great place to live and work compared to many others and my pitch to you, join ACETA, unify, and together we can minimise these challenges and power up your chances of realising the dream.
Frank Hinton, President ACETA
This article first appeared in the print edition of CX Magazine May 2018, p67. CX Magazine is Australia and New Zealand’s only publication dedicated to entertainment technology news and issues. Publishing since 1990, read all editions for free or search our archive www.cxnetwork.com.au