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‘Future made in Australia’: Albo’s pitch

Anthony Albanese will unveil a plan to scale up incentives for clean energy and advanced manufacturing in a major speech laying the groundwork for a second term.

In an address to the Queensland Media Club on Thursday, the Prime Minister will announce the creation of the Future Made in Australia Act to co-ordinate a package of new and existing initiatives.

Mr Albanese will point to schemes in the US, EU, Japan and South Korea that involve direct government investments, tax breaks or other incentives – warning Australia must offer the same or risk losing industries.

“All these countries are investing in their industrial base, their manufacturing capability and their economic sovereignty,” he said.

“This is not old-fashioned protectionism or isolationism – it is the new competition.”

But Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has trashed the plan as “peddling false hope”.

“He’s promising Australian-made solar panels. It’s not going to happen because this government is putting up manufacturing costs,” he said.

“If you look at manufacturing now, it’s not made in Australia because it’s going broke under the Labor government because of their energy costs, because of their industrial relations imposts. This Prime Minister makes promises, but he’s closing industry down.”

Ahead of the speech, Mr Albanese denied the plan, at this stage, is nothing more than a rebadge of existing announcements.

“There’s a race for jobs and opportunity on, and it’s a global race and Australia must be in it to win it … if Australia just sits back and is disengaged, then the world will go past us,” he told Nine on Thursday morning.

“We can’t afford, to be vulnerable as well as an economy by not making things here, by being dependent just on what happens offshore.

“We also can’t afford to continue to export all our resources, wait for someone else to add the jobs and the value, and then import it back. We need a future made in Australia and that’s what our vision is.”

The speech marked a pivotal moment for the government, which is just a month out from its third budget and 12 months out from the latest date Mr Albanese can call an election.

It laid down the markers for Labor’s second term, signalling Mr Albanese’s pitch for a second term will focus heavily on energy security and the transition to net zero.

New projects will be announced next month but Mr Albanese conceded Australia will not be able to match the scale of the US when it comes to subsidies.

“This is not an auction – it’s a competition,” he said.

“And Australian can absolutely compete for international investment when it comes to our capacity to produce outcomes, the quality of our policies and the power of our incentives.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions welcomed the announcement as a “historic step forward” for workers and the climate.

“Decarbonising our economy could create hundreds of thousands of good secure well-paid jobs, healthier communities and a renewed national prosperity while safeguarding Australians from spiralling climate crises,” president Michele O’Neil said.

His speech comes a day after the head of one of Australia’s biggest energy companies warned getting to net-zero by 2050 would be “difficult” because there were serious inhibitors to investment like rising costs.

Jeff Dimery, the chief executive of Alinta Energy, gave an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday where he warned the investment landscape was also severely inhibited.

“I spoke at a conference two years ago and said that it would cost $8bn to hypothetically replace our brown coal-fired power station, Loy Yang B, with pumped hydro and offshore wind. Well, that’s more like $10bn today with movements in various cost components,” Mr Dimery said.

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