The consequences of opening our doors to cheap imports, particularly the blind eye or inability to see dumping of imports in Australia has become very clear of late with the closure of all Car manufacturing, SPC Ardmona struggling along with Alcoa and many well known and even more unknown Australian manufacturers closing their doors. And with major US and UK companies utilising Ireland and Tax havens to avoid paying taxes you can see the tax burden rests on the meek.
I could talk about industries that are not relevent to this forum, but then this is an off topic thread and I could, but the last time I did that caused a stir. So, what I do want to do is talk about GPS and how the lack of forward thinking by succesive governments (left and right) had/have contributed to the poor education, high education/training costs and the lack of developing a strategy to take Australia into the new world order of technology.
We all know that raw materials get you nothing but value adding does. Value adding means jobs in all levels of a company, which I can see GPS product value adding is a small but critical factor for the life we are heading to. I mean, unless you are a hermit you are more than likely not had at some stage a GPS device giving you or providing your location. Every taxi has GPS, so if you have been in a taxi for the past 10 years, your pinged. If you have been in any public transport for the past 5 years, your pinged. And don't forget your smartphone or tablet has a good chance of a built-in GPS, along with the street navigator or the tracking device your Mrs has stitched into your jacket to find out where your Mistress lives.
But what investment has been put into building tech giants in Australia? It is absolutely clear to me that technology is the way forward; it's a job maker, it keeps Australia in a tech savvy model that USA has been doing since the beginning of Silicon Valley. I understand we are a country based on minerals, but with more and more GPS based automation (self driven trains, dozers, dump trucks, survey drones, robotic survey equipment, machine guidance systems etc etc) we are going to face a technology crisis where most minerals are pulled out of the ground by fewer people and by technology from overseas.
At the moment, the two main players in the survey, machine control and machine guidance industry are Leica and Trimble. In the Farming equipment Guidance industry we use to have a couple of Australian companies that were streets ahead of foreign competitors but all have been bought out.
Now, I am not here to promote my good friend John Koles from Micronics GPS who has had many innovative products that, although for those who bought are a game changer, struggles to get the recognition his products deserve for their ingenuity and usefullness in many areas of industry. It is as if no one, no bank no government and no forward thinking financier consider any this of real value, primarily because they don't understand it. They understand profits or meeting budgets through taxes, fees, charges, royalties and penalties, but not the benefit of advanced technology. Because it isn't as tangeable, or rather, easy to obtain instant gratification, as money, the fact of the matter is, we find ourselves become less the lucky country and less the smart country.
I understand also to break into the machine guidance is tough when companies like Westrac have to accept Catapillar's decision to only work with Trimble and not consider any other manufacturer no matter how good. How do you break into a controlled, powerfull market that stifles small innovative companies?
Us GPS enthusiasts see the benefits, we know what GPS can do, what it can be used for, not only in our everday life but also at work and the efficiencies it brings to all industries.
So, what is in the pipeline for innovative GPS companies like Micronics GPS? Nothing, nothing at all and I dare say won't do until we get a science minister again, but even then.....
What is it we need to see Australian governments start to put in place the procedures to implement a method for the John Koles of the world to get the recognition, support, the funding the marketing and delivery of his products?