Regional Australia 'falling to pieces', Fox says

Linfox founder Lindsay Fox calls for focus on regional Australia, claiming demise of manufacturing has left it "falling to pieces"

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | February 17, 2012

Lindsay Fox has called for a new approach to securing employment in regional Australia, claiming the demise of manufacturing has left it "falling to pieces".

Speaking on 774 ABC Melbourne radio, Fox says regional Australia is suffering because manufacturers are shifting operations offshore.

Fox says most of the jobs are going to the mining centres. He likened the boom to having a transformative effect on the economy, adding "the whole mining sector is the industry of our nation".

"In reality, regional Australia is falling to pieces primarily because those that are manufacturing in those centres have decided it’s cheaper to get them built offshore. With this happening I think we have got a long run downhill, we have to try and resurrect them and go uphill."

He describes the current unemployment level as "frightening", saying jobs need to be created in regional Australia.

"I think we have to start looking at Australia today along the same lines at the Germans did when they opened up East Germany to West Germany and made the incentives for West Germany and companies to establish facilities in East Germany," Fox says.

"We have to start looking at those things in regional Australia to give them an even chance."

Meanwhile, Caltex’a decision to slash the value of its refining assets by $1.5 billion will not impact its customers, spokesman Sam Collyer says.

"We’re looking at a range of options, from investment through to closure – no decision has been made," he says.

"There is no impact on our customers – we’re committed to maintaining our strong record of reliable supply."

The poor 2011 refining performance and the gloomy 2012 outlook for the company’s refining business led Caltex to commence a study into the role of its refineries in its supply chain, as previously announced in August last year.

The review was instigated six months ago and is expected to take another six months before investors and customers know the verdict.

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