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Submission to the inquiry into Developing Advanced Manufacturing in Australia

The Australian Cobotics Centre provided a submission for the Developing Advanced Manufacturing in Australia inquiry.

Investment in robotics, automation and digitisation is essential for Australian manufacturing to remain globally competitive and to deliver planned large-scale infrastructure projects. In addition, advanced manufacturing is changing jobs, resulting in a need for continued investment in skilling the current workforce to enable workers to be re-deployed and maintain a career in manufacturing. The future of advanced manufacturing rests on more sophisticated integration of humans and  technology. As manufacturing processes become increasingly more complex, humans and robots need to work collaboratively. Collaborative robotics offers solutions to the main challenges currently faced by Australia’s SME-dominant manufacturing industry.

The Australian Cobotics Centre makes the following recommendations for the Australian Government to implement:

Recommendation 1: Incentivise and fund industry-university research and development partnerships to support robotics, automation, and digitisation of manufacturing in Australia.
Recommendation 2: Invest in programs to support open innovation and collaboration between industry and researchers that are targeted towards increasing the adoption of collaborative robotics.
Recommendation 3: Support research to ensure meaningful integration of collaborative robots within manufacturing businesses.
Recommendation 4: Ensure SMEs have low-cost access to access and adapt collaborative robots and other advanced manufacturing technologies for the Australian context.
Recommendation 5: Encourage development of Australian suppliers for equipment and technology to support advanced manufacturing.
Recommendation 6: Support manufacturers to understand cyber security risks, implement mitigation strategies and recover from cyber-attacks.
Recommendation 7: Support research-industry engagements that emphasise participation from workers in the adoption of collaborative robotics within their business.
Recommendation 8: Address labour shortages through a sector-wide retention and attraction strategy supported by industry-led qualification and training partnerships in collaborative robotics for manufacturing.
Recommendation 9: Develop a national strategy to increase the participation of women in manufacturing.
Recommendation 10: Invest in and train manufacturing SMEs to increase workforce diversity by utilising technology such as collaborative robotics.
Recommendation 11: Support research funding for projects that investigate the use of collaborative robots for inclusion and accessibility for otherwise excluded groups of people.
Recommendation 12: Ensure Australia’s education and training system is fit for purpose to skill the future advanced manufacturing workforce who will need to use collaborative robotics.
Recommendation 13: Support research-industry-education engagements to identify and address advanced manufacturing skills gaps, particularly gaps that impede the adoption of collaborative robotics.


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