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Title: Manufacturing on the move? Beyond the high dollar in the debate about making things in Australia - the case of the Australian surfboard industry
Contributor(s): Warren, Andrew  (author); Gibson, Chris (author)
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Abstract: In October 2011 surfboard manufacturer BASE abruptly closed its factory on the Gold Coast resulting in the direct loss of 50 jobs. A few days later, nearby D'Arcy Surfboards also announced it was shedding workers and downsizing from a state-of-the art purpose built factory into a backyard workshop. Each business exported surfboards internationally and employed some of Australia's best known surfboard-makers. The troubles facing these workshops added to those brewing at the very same in Australia's steel, aluminium, automotive and garment industries. With renewed public debate and media commentary on the future of manufacturing, we now face a crisis in 'making things' in Australia. To inform debate about this crisis, in this discussion paper we focus attention on one industry - surfboard-making - where Australia has had an international comparative advantage, and on which we have been doing extended, detailed qualitative and quantitative research for over three years. ... The question we seek to pose is: beyond the dollar what other factors play a role in shaping the economic fortunes of manufacturing industries? In light of debates about Australia's future in making things we offer a fresh perspective focusing not just on the high state of the Australian currency but the internal features of manufacturing industries and the regions within which they are based. As geographers we argue this type of research can reveal important insights into the current state of manufacturing. A geographical perspective is highly attuned to the moving parts of those industries that apply human effort in the conversion of basic materials into useful products.
Publication Type: Working Paper
Grant Details: ARC/FT0991193
Field of Research (FOR): 160401 Economic Geography
160403 Social and Cultural Geography
HERDC Category Description: W Working Paper
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Series Name: AUSCCER Discussion Papers
Series Number : 2012/2
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Appears in Collections:Working Paper

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