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WA’s South West could soon be home to an advanced manufacturing hub

The Western Australia State Government is hoping wind turbines could be built in the South-West region as part of a push towards more local manufacturing.

WA Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan, today announced a $485,000 investment towards a feasibility study which would determine whether an advanced manufacturing hub could be established in Bunbury.

The proposed facility would give local manufacturers access to infrastructure, technology, training, education and research.

“Western Australia is really becoming very much a centre for wind power and we’ve seen a massive take up of wind energy in WA,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“As part of our focus on advanced manufacturing and regional development, we see it as very possible that the manufacturing of wind turbines could be part of this hub.”

Ms MacTiernan said there was potential to manufacture and provide a much larger range of goods and services in the state.

Three young men in high vis work wear talk to a female politician while standing in a workshop.
Alannah MacTiernan speaks to staff at a manufacturing facility in Bunbury.(ABC South West: Ellie Honeybone)

“Over the last three years we have been looking at the extraordinary work that has been done by a group of manufacturers in the South West,” she said.

“What we can see, is that in West Australia … we have got a manufacturing sector that has largely grown out of providing support to the mining industry.

“We think that there is enormous potential for us to really take this a step further.”

Pandemic highlights supply chain issues

Steve McCartney is the state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and highlighted how supply chains have fallen apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to be in the upstream of our primary industries,” he said.

“Building capacity in the South West, building good, 21st-century jobs … is the only way forward for the state.”

Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Steve Thomas, said another review of the South West’s potential for increased manufacturing was not necessary.

“There is a potential to expand industry in the South West … we’ve got the labour force, we’ve got the facilities,” he said.

“What we don’t need is another review to tell us what we already know, that is that the capacity is there and the potential is there.”

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