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Geelong is Strong event held

The Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program held an expo at Royal Geelong Showground yesterday.

The event, titled Geelong Is Strong, was attended by about 150, according to the ABC.

The area has been hit by announcements in the last year by Ford (which will end manufacturing in Australia in 2016), Alcoa (which will close its smelter and rolling mill this year) and Qantas (which has stopped maintenance work at Avalon Airport.

Jamie Baensch, general manager at Lara’s Air Radiators and chairman of the Geelong Manufacturing Council, said that local manufacturers wanted policy stability more than anything else.

"Where we really want some help is to have a bipartisan strategy, some sort of accord or principals so we're not seeing changes," he told the ABC.

Victorian Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan said that local businesses wanted certainty rather than special assistance measures.

"Farmers, manufacturers and food producers don't want a hand out, they just don't want to get kicked in the head," he said.

The program is an initiative of federal politicians MP Bob Katter and Senators Madigan and Nick Xenophon, and has been running since 2012.

It was established to promote industry and “bring politicians out of Parliament House and into the real world.”


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