PM’s US visit an opportunity for both greater integration and sovereign thinking

“The Prime Minister’s US visit is an opportunity for greater integration for Australia in the US economy and supply chains while enhancing national security and decarbonisation goals,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today (Mr Willox is in Washington with the PM and other business representatives).

“The visit is also an opportunity to advance the case for future integration of Australian capability and capacity into the supply chains for the development of future nuclear submarines to meet our national security needs as well the technological advances being worked through Pillar 2 of the agreement.

“Hopefully, the issues within the US Congress can be resolved soon to provide the certainty that the agreement will allow all three participating economies to work together. Industrial integration is essential to make AUKUS a success.

“Broadly speaking, sovereign capabilities must extend beyond using someone else’s technology to manufacture in Australia. As much as we focus on research, we really need sovereign thinking that translates that research into local development.

“There are opportunities to do more in Australia including around critical minerals that are needed in the decarbonising agenda, and we could do more to focus on thinking about how to remove or reduce barriers to the renewables roll out.

“As a micro example, transporting pre-fabricated wind towers is expensive, time consuming and disruptive. We could be thinking about how to bring that fabrication closer to site, reducing time and costs and increasing safety. Instead of subsidising the installation, invest in research to make installation cheaper.

“We could also think about how to leverage our skills in minerals extraction beyond raw materials to include extraction from finished goods. All of the batteries from electric cars are eventually going to be recycled and the US waste/secondary market may give us the scale needed to build the business model. We could be trusted to do it safely and with minimal environmental impact,” Mr Willox said.

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