When so many unfortunate stories in the business sector have the graced the front page of The Courier it is good to see a local success story break the pattern of closures and lay-offs..
Manufacturing in Australia has largely been a tale of contracting woe over the last five decades. The abundant cheap labour of the Indian subcontinent strangled the clothing and textile industry and China with its almost unstoppable expansion swallowed almost everything else from electronics to pencils. The latest death knell in this global shift was the car manufacturing industry where a failure to adapt to shifting trends and new technologies saw Asia steal the lower end of the market and Europe the upper. This was particularly repercussive blow, sending shock waves into a thousand support and supply industries. The regions have often, through lack of diversity, suffered the disproportionate social impacts of these closures.
So against that history of gloom, the rewards of innovation, agility and competitiveness are all the brighter and more worthy. Commendable too when this adaptation allows it to adsorb some of those losses and find new work, new skills and career paths for some for those car-trained workers. Whether it is the extreme specialisation of the defence industry or made to order quality demands of logistics or train manufacturing, these are some of Ballarat’s success stories.
But with each of these good news stories there is always the fear that each new contract is only buying time. The more upbeat news form MaxiTrans management is they are looking to put on an extra 70 workers despite the large Coles contract being complete. It is hoped MaxiTRANS has shown in one large scale contract it can meet these terms on budget and within time, setting the model to recommend it on other major contracts.
The company has put out the call for a combination of skilled workers and new graduates who will be asked to fill the mostly welding and engineering positions.
With sophisticated new facilities opened in Ballarat to meet training and re-skilling needs it promises well that through business/industry partnerships these standards and demands can not only be met but surpassed. For it is that commitment to excellence and a constant innovation which will secure Ballarat’s manufacturing future when old industries have long vanished.