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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2005
s we go to press, the Governor of the Reserve Bank in Australia, together with the Prime Minister are working hard to get the "forthcoming skill shortage" up on to the national agenda. The people in the Australian foundry industry will certainly be cynically amused. This issue has been an enormous problem for them for several years and despite all the lobbying by them of state and federal departments, their need for training more people, was not considered important enough. Now, belatedly, something is happening, be it only a debate by the usual suspects positioning their points of view. But whatever, the level of debate, the issue will remain a big one in the manufacturing industry. And by the time it goes through the usual task forces, committees et al, it may be several more years before anyone can see a measurable outcome. Meanwhile, manufacturing industry has to watch the affects of the global economy negatively reposition Australia's export capability resulting from reduced skill base, high wages and trade barriers. But, it can be argued, that to blame the government for the entire problem is a bit of a cop-out. While they set the levers for the economic environment, there is still space for the visionary companies to take it all as a challenge and, in doing so, become innovative and find and forge new market niches. The foundry industry like all manufacturing industry has to enter the new economy and dragging old work practises and attitudes as a ball and chain, will make it that much harder to evolve into more positive business. And on the issue of innovation and evolution, Metals magazine has appointed Ken Foulke as an Editorial Consultant because we believe his own business activities which take him to the Asian countries will help inform you, our readers, with a more leading edge focus. Additionally, Kerry Cattell of Foseco has kindly organised for Metals magazine to visit China to meet his company people and explore how else we can add value to the publication using their knowledge of China. We will report on the outcome in our June edition. Meantime, as usual, we hope you enjoy what we have to bring you in this edition, which includes the AFI's President sharing his experience of the Tsunami and the Chairman's report on Australia's domestic growth. As well, John Pearce and John Bautista bring news from Asia and there is an excellent technical feature by Navojit Basu and, of course, the always excellent contribution by Jeff Meredith. EDITORIAL 4 METAL Casting Technologies March 2005 Skill Bank Now a Big Political Issue Barbara Cail CONTRIBUTORS A Barbara Cail EDITOR JOHN PEARCE Metals Specialist, MTEC National Metals and Materials Technology Centre, Thailand J.F. MEREDITH Casting Solutions Pty Ltd GORON FELLER writes regularly about the metals industry, He is based in China and travels throughout Asia JOHN HERMES D. BAUTISTA PMAI Technical Consultant NEV MURRAY Secretary of the Australian Ductile Iron Producers Association Inc.