This article has no point other than to highlight the ever-changing political landscape, the challenges that this presents to stability and long-term vision for our Federal Government, and the need for a revision of our capital investment strategies.

From 21 October 1998 until 14 December 2011, a period of just over 13 years, we had three Federal Industry Ministers – Nick Minchin, Ian Macfarlane and Kim Carr. Notwithstanding the fact that this was a time before the global financial crisis and the automotive closures, this era saw growth in our manufacturing outputs, and full-time employment in the industry was constant at around $1m employees.

On 24 June 2010, when Julia Gillard took over as Prime Minister from Kevin Rudd, Kim Carr was Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. In December that year, Greg Combet replaced Carr in the revised Industry and Innovation portfolio. When Rudd came back into power, so did Carr, and the portfolio reverted back to Innovation, Industry, Science & Research.

With the change to the Liberals in September 2013, the incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Macfarlane to another revised portfolio – Macfarlane was simply the Minister for Industry. In December 2014 the portfolio changed again, this time to Minister for Industry & Science. Then when Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister on 15 September 2015, it changed yet again, to Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science, and Christopher Pyne was appointed to the role.

In cabinet reshuffles over the past six months we have seen Pyne replaced with Greg Hunt, who held the portfolio for 183 days, and now Arthur Sinodinos is our current Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science.

I’m not pointing out these changes to be inflammatory or dramatic. But we have now had seven Ministers and six changes of portfolio in the past six-and-a-half years. At some point, our Federal politicians need to understand the impact that this will have on our ability to make good, sound, long-term decisions.

I cannot imagine what a change of name and a department restructure would cost, but I expect it would be significant. To do this five times in five years has to be questioned. These tax-payer dollars surely could be better spent addressing some of the issues that affect our industry.

One of these issues is the age of our technology in Australia. We are falling behind parity in our investment in new technology by comparison with other countries. If this continues, we will become less and less globally competitive in the area that we identify as our strength – niche, value-added, customised, highly engineered products.

We need to encourage investment. The Government can assist this, but I am not talking about merit-based grant applications where one in five companies are successful. We need a structured, tax-based, long-term incentive program that will encourage investment in technology and innovation and lead to business growth and job creation.

Accelerated depreciation has proven to be an effective investment incentive strategy around the world. I think it is time we had a good look at this concept for supporting major purchases of capital equipment. We currently have a $20,000 limit for which small businesses can claim an immediate deduction and these arrangements continue until the end of June 2017. While this is a sound benefit to small businesses, is does not help major capital purchases.

I propose a $200,000 depreciation limit for all businesses, to be put in place for the next five years as a minimum. We would need to have some structure around what can be claimed but the intent is that investment in manufacturing technology and equipment that improves the production process is what we are aiming to achieve.

Minister Sinodonis is now the man best placed to make significant change to our industry. I look forward to meeting with him soon and continuing to push for an Investment Program that will reinvigorate our manufacturing sector.