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Bringing back Australian Manufacturing: Discard programmed obsolescence

Discussion in 'Business, Investment and Economics' started by frugal.rock, Mar 28, 2020.

  1. frugal.rock

    frugal.rock

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    As we all know, Aussie made goods have been in decline for many years.
    The realisation is there by many, that this is not a good thing.

    Long term consequences of buying the cheapest products, have been largely overlooked by the populus.
    The cheap stuff we buy, is quite frankly, generally crap.
    Occasionally, one gets something that is cheap, but randomly, doesn't break in the first 5 years of it's life.
    It's a lucky dip, with very few winners.

    Enter the dragon,
    Programmed Obsolescence.
    Some may be aware, that programmed obsolescence is a major part of modern design, yes, this is the willful and intentional design of certain components to fail.
    Be it EEPROMS on circuit boards, numerous car parts, Laptop keyboards... "insert the product here"
    the list is endless.
    Many components fail due to poor manufacturing also, and can be common across many goods, but mainly electronics.

    If I could buy an Australian made TV, with a 5 year warranty or more, I would pay double or more, than the current prices of the cheap crap available.

    This brings me to the fact that our overseeing bodies fail to act.
    Failing to place recalls on failing items that are not considered dangerous.
    Whose interests are they protecting?
    Then there's the climate change thing to consider from the disposable nature of products.

    I will never buy another VW (Audi, Skoda etc) unless it's pre electronics era.
    They commonly have issues with electronics, wiring harnesses, dual mass fly wheels, transmissions, sensors, cam lobe wear/ timing gear etc. German engineering?
    They make more profits off spare parts sales these days than the purchase of the car.

    Bring back Aussie manufacturing.
    Put recalls on crap. It's not acceptable.

    Let's send the message to Scott Morrison loud and clear, as I feel he can be the vessel to implement the change process clearly needed.

    How can we fix it?

    F.Rock
     
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  2. Skate

    Skate

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    @frugal.rock, you have made some good points. Australia has to learn from this recent experience & forgo the heavy reliance on other countries to produce what we consume.

    Government Industries
    Handing out free money is the immediate answer but in the longer term our Governments should be reintroducing employment opportunities. Once-upon-a-time the Governments were a large employer & in the short to medium term this could be a novel approach to stimulate the economy.

    Social housing
    For a start the Government should introduce "building social housing" on a mass scale, employing tradies & apprentices in volume. In this way, we would get the best "bang-for-buck" as an alternative to giving out free money. The flow-on effect from this alone would be an enormous boost to every community. Imagine the employment opportunities just to implement this idea before employing one actual worker to start building the houses. Than there would be local businesses needed to supply the necessary products & materials, a win/win for everyone. Nothing increases self worth more than having a job.

    Skate.
     
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  3. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    Bring in appropriate standards into the building and other industries and employ people to police them, not leave it to self regulation.

    Make cracking buildings and falling down stadiums a thing of the past.
     
  4. jbocker

    jbocker

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    Programmed Sustainability.
    Built to 6 star standard.
    Repair and Maintenance enabled post warranty.
     
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  5. frugal.rock

    frugal.rock

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    All good points referring to construction, ownership of workmanship and nationalisation to some extent.
    I would extend that to be using Aussie made steel and other materials.

    Have seen some contractors work over the last few years...made me cringe.
    Lift shaft, fire stairwells walls well out of plumb... it's basic stuff really.
    Plumb Bob anyone? Rock on the end of a string..etc

    It outlines the inexperience of many people working in construction currently. This needs to get rained in.

    F.Rock
     
  6. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    PS , there is no apostrophe in "waits". :cool:
     
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  7. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    Just to break a bit the enthousiasm
    The building rules and regulation represented a 3rd of the cost for me to have a 3 bedroom cottage on my existing land, and it was not 6 stars
    Modern housing is built to last 25y at most: look at the framing: treated pine matchstick with nailed in connectors..
    All good engineering wise, until a single connection fails and then...
    Your tradies charge 90$ an hour plumber higher than top of the range artificial or big data specialist
    How can you imagine being able to sustain that?
    We will get back maybe ..after pain unless we kick the can further and further or as suggested on another thread aud becoming so low
    My $299 TV no brand has been working tirelessly for 5y plus..my laptop as yours is made in china cheap..is it crap?
    All made in China is not crap, you just get what you pay for
    I somewhat doubt people are ready to spend 3 months savings to buy a washing machine
    Should we put trade barriers. But remember a lot of services havebimmaterial goods
    When doing IT, the government was hiring ibm who then was using indian programmers brought in
    Asking 80$ was too high for them, indian were on half..can you imagine being paid 40$ an hour in India..top 1pc
    Now imagine here...with HECS, own company and computer, tax rates....
    This is not going to be simple
     
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  8. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    Yep - and it's mostly down to all the costs the plumber has to actually run a business. As I think you know, that's not exactly cheap with all the rules and regs and other high cost things.
     
  9. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    One thing we could certainly do in Australia is go half way. Turn iron ore into steel. Turn bauxite into aluminium. Etc.

    End the silliness over energy supply and we can be competitive at that even with fairly high wages and if we're taking $100 worth of ore and turning it into $500 - $2000 worth of metal well then that's a huge step above just selling the ore. :2twocents
     
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  10. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    A past example is Bell Bay Aluminium in Tasmania, a business with a current turnover exceeding $500 million per annum.

    The plant was originally built as effectively a joint venture of the Australian government, via the Australian Aluminium Production Commission, and the Tasmanian state government which via the Hydro-Electric Commission supplied the vast quantities of electricity required - that being the reason it was built in Tasmania.

    Construction started about 1950 on undeveloped land and the plant opened in 1955 consisting of an alumina refinery, anode production plant, smelting potline and casting operation. That is, a complete process for converting bauxite into aluminium metal.

    The operation was sold to Comalco (which via various takeovers etc is now Rio Tinto) in 1960 who promptly expanded. No.2 potline was in production in 1962, No.3 in 1967 and the first half of No.4 in 1976. The second half of No.4 line opened in 1980 with the original No.1 line closed at that time as the technology had become obsolete. The alumina operations have since been transferred to Queensland on a larger scale whilst the anode production has been rebuilt on site and a major modernisation effort at the turn of the century speeded the whole operation up by around 50%.

    Comalco itself, seeking to develop the market for its aluminium, built an aluminium powder plant (that's powder not power) next to the smelter and later sold it to the unrelated company Ecka which still operates it today. Among other uses aluminium powder is used in metallic paint and explosives.

    It has since closed due to the general demise of Australian automotive manufacturing but Comalco also built the Southern Aluminium wheel casting plant next to the powder plant. It was successful for a time - they were supplying OEM wheels to Mazda at one point among others.

    So that was the beginning of the aluminium industry in Australia. Initiated and brought into operation by government then sold for further development to private enterprise. Part of that was a condition placed on Comalco at the time of privatisation which required the company to build the No.2 line and continue operations. Meanwhile the state government continued to supply the power - a significant aspect noting that on average the smelter uses more electricity than every private residence in the state.

    Today the smelter trades under the name Bell Bay Aluminium but the ultimate owner is Rio Tinto. :2twocents
     
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  11. sptrawler

    sptrawler

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    It isnt that difficult, it has been done before, the government just has to have the resolve to take on the multi nationals and the media has to put Australia first and back the government rather than those who pay the advertising dollars.
    Just my opinion
     
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  12. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    Not cheap to work on your own as an IT professional, even your trip can not be claimed on a project, you need your invoicing, super, BAS, IAS.not mentioning insurance public and IT liabilities etc etc...and you do not bill the customer for this...

    ..And you are expected to have a laptop with proper softwares etc..quite a bit of cost there too;
    I know having a business in Australia is a nightmare of regulations believe me...

    Nevertheless that IT pro..talking top stuff has left school at 25y old or so, and will not accept cash in hand... how is he catching up the 10 years paid education he lost vs a plumber paid as soon he is an apprentice? no surprise that IT degrees are actually being closed in Australia and IT people piss off O/S
    A country always has the outcome it deserves
    except places like Lebanon, or Cambodia who really have been unlucky in the world lotto
     
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  13. macca

    macca

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    I think this is our best hope, the manufacture of small things requires a desire to work, something that is lacking in many folk unless paid a lot more money than those overseas.

    I believe that the rot set in when it became hard to sack people, when I started work if I did my job then I had a job.

    If I did not do my job then they would get someone else to do it, this gave me a great incentive to do it Properly which meant the efficiency and product quality of the place was maintained.

    If it is hard to sack a bad employee then they drag the whole place down to their level.

    In my wife's workplace one toxic employee has taken it from a good place to work with a well earned reputation to being a place that is losing clients and good staff going elsewhere.

    Thirty years ago that bad employee would have been sacked or threatened with improve or you are out, hopefully they changed their ways and the place returns to its best.

    Today, there is a need for counselling, three written warnings, acceptance of poor quality work, stress leave etc etc 10 months and counting of lies and problems all caused by one person, crazy stuff.
     
  14. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    And by the way I have nothing against plumbers, or carpenters,etc, but you have to decide as an economy where you put your priorities, do not expect to have the next google or smart manufacturing if your engineers and expert can not afford the Ford Ranger of the guy changing the seal in your tenant place .
    Same for education etc
    Moreover, we have left this gone for so long we have lost all the experiences, bright lights moved overseas and there is only so much the white beach can do to attract the right migrants here.It will take decades to change the mindset and the reception of Turnbull innovation push was very telling on our society
     
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  15. macca

    macca

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    The other problem is funding, the number of people who have had to go OS with their "good idea" to continue development who then end up setting up in that country is far too many.

    Is our venture funding lacking? tax incentives on R&D? the Aussie cringe? tall poppy syndrome?

    We seem to find it hard to have self belief in our products, look how many people are "no bodies" in OZ, go OS get a role in a soapie in USA and are then feted as superstars when they return.

    Time for a republic, get some self belief, encourage pride in what we do and who we are and stop bowing to Betty and Phil on the other side of the world.

    Two things left on my bucket list, great grandkids and a Republic of Australia
     
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  16. InsvestoBoy

    InsvestoBoy

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    This is just wrong.

    I won't say how much, but I'm charging much more $/day contracting in IT for a large Australian financial company in Sydney. More if you don't count lunch. Don't consider myself top of the range, have asked for and received more on previous contracts.

    I don't pay any costs to maintain my own business and am technically an employee of a subcontracting company which is offered as a convenience to contractors who don't want to manage that stuff. I don't know what they charge on top of my daily rate.

    Colleagues with specific qualifications/experiences in related niches of knowledge that I don't have experience in are charging 30-40% more than me!

    You don't even need to take my word for it, just search for some keywords like "full stack engineer" or "senior developer" or "devops" or "security consultant" on Seek with work type set as contractor:
    https://www.seek.com.au/full-stack-engineer-jobs/in-All-Sydney-NSW/contract-temp

    For example if you look you can see plenty of jobs for $900/day, that's $112.5/hr for an hour 8 stint where you get paid for your lunch hour. That's 25% more than $90/hr.

    These advertised rates are definitely negotiable higher if you have experience in a particular thing your client is interested in. For example if the job uses Azure and you're an Azure expert.

    FWIW I'd happily pay a plumber $90/hr or even $112.5/hr as a fair rate for good work, they are a specialist, just like me.
     
  17. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    Good on you mate, in Brisbane it is $800 a day..7 to 10% cost for the company you mentioned., you pay your transportation, work clothes unclaimable..
    Have done the same as you since 2000, and for info in Brisbane at least rates have been down for the last 10y or so
    Was up to 1200 a day in the 2008 mining boom for comparable positions
    Anyway it is comparable income at best.
    Note plumber $90 p/h was a minimun for serious amount of work, $125 as noted easily reached if a small job of a few hours only
    This may change quickly now
     
  18. wayneL

    wayneL Rotaredom

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    Tradie expenses yes. A typical one man band plumber only keeps about 40% of the invoice, after expenses, but before tax.

    My trade is usually piecework, but I charge out 220 first hour and 165 thereafter, plus materials for specialty stuff (that's Inc gst). But we can usually only get about 5-7 chargeable hours in an 8 hour day.

    Depending on how guys run their business, many only keep about a third of that (I learned a long time ago about running a tight ship so I keep substantially more than that)

    But it is very surprising how much it costs to run a trade business.
     
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  19. MovingAverage

    MovingAverage Smoke me a kipper

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    Ok, on bringing back manufacturing back to Australian. I don’t won’t to be the wet blanket and unpatriotic, but I’m so so sure Australia is up to the task of building a world class manufacturing industry. Sorry, but it’s just MHO. If it is to happen we need to complete on the world stage, I just don’t think we are to it for a whole raft of reasons. Internationally, we are expensive, government generally doesn’t provide the necessary incentives, our tax system makes us uncompetitive and I question whether we have the necessary local skilled workforce. It’s one thing suggesting that we Australians support locally made goods, but it’s another expect the rest of the world to support it. Unless the rest of the world supports our local manufacturing industry then we will never build a competitive manufacturing industry to support just patriotic locals.
     
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  20. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    If we continue to labour under the delusion that we are on a level playing field with other countries that pay slave wages and no benefits then you are probably right.

    Start putting on tariffs that account for the difference between our salaries and benefits and the country of origin and I think we'll be competitive. The 'emerging' countries have had it pretty good for too long, it's time they paid their workers a living wage and decent benefits.

    'Free' trade is not necessarily 'fair' trade.
     
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