Northern suburbs food manufacturing park a possibility

A food manufacturing park in northern Adelaide is being considered by the South Australian government to help adapt to a post-General Motors Holden manufacturing future.

The ABC reports that a directions paper raises the possibility of a food manufacturing, packaging and distribution centre, with the government looking for at least 40 hectares of land for the site.

"We are just placing ads now for requests for information from industry, from land holders and from developers to come to Government and let us know what land they have got available so we can assess if we go ahead with the food park where the best area would be," the state’s manufacturing minister Kyam Maher told the ABC.

Maher said that food manufacturing had grown for the last 17 years straight.

The government is also considering the defence, construction and healthcare industries. It is seeking feedback on the discussion paper and aims to release an economic plan for the north of Adelaide by the end of the year. The consultation process also involves the mayors from suburbs including Playford and Salisbury.

Holden will end car manufacturing at Elizabeth in 2017. It has begun scaling down it operation, and is scheduled to re-rate production from 290 to 240 vehicles a day today.


Australian industry sees weak finish to 2014

Australia’s manufacturing sector ended the year in contraction, according to the Australian Industry Group’s monthly Performance of Manufacturing Index survey.

The Ai Group’s PMI was down 3.2 points overall for the month to 46.9, meaning it slipped back into negative territory after November’s marginally expansionary result.

Any result under 50 in the PMI indicates contraction, and above it, expansion.

“We would have hoped to have seen a stronger Australian PMI in the lead-up to Christmas, but the finding is consistent with other publicly released data,” said the AiG’s chief executive, Innes Willox.

As with November, four of the eight sub-sectors tracked were in growth territory, led by Food, Beverages and Tobacco, which recorded a result of 60.4 (up 1.3 points).

Despite a falling dollar, which meanwhile hit a five-and-a-half-year low this morning, conditions remained difficult for the industry for a number of reasons. These included tight margins, with the input costs sub-index up to 70.3.

“Respondents to the Australian PMI welcomed the further depreciation in the Australian dollar, but noted that the level of the dollar continues to encourage strong import competition,” said Willox.

“Business sentiment and appetite for investment remain weak. The closure of Australian automotive assembly facilities now under way, plus the rapid decline in mining investment activity, are also weighing heavily on demand for locally made machinery inputs and components.”