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Camit closes in Bundaberg

Another sad day for #aviation and no comment from the Minister.

Darren Chester MP 

@DarrenChesterMP

Aviation manufacturer closure a sign of the times, industry insider says

Posted

The closure of an aviation manufacturer in Bundaberg has left the fate of about 20 workers unknown.

CAMit was established in 1986 and was the largest factory of its kind in the region.

It used computer-aided manufacturing to build aero engines and parts that were used in recreational aircraft such as Jabiru, which are also made in Bundaberg.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the closure, but declined to comment further, saying it was a “very sad day”.

While it was not clear why the business folded, industry insiders said it was a sign of how difficult it was to be in manufacturing in Australia at the moment.

Closure shows challenges manufacturers face

Jabiru Aircraft business manager Susan Woods said many in aviation had faced challenging trading conditions.

“Because we have such a small size to our market, unlike the motor industry and other industries, our small size means that we have to just do everything very carefully,” she said.

“Particularly the aircraft that we have are boys’ toys, so they are definitely a luxury item.

“As soon as there is any downturn in the economy, they’re one of the first things to drop off the market.”

Ms Woods said there was an enormous amount of competition in Australia, with a lot of foreign imports coming into the country.

“That also makes a lot of challenges for us,” she said.

Ms Woods said Jabiru would have to transition to a new supplier if CAMit was no longer able to provide parts, but the combined effect of the global financial crisis and a high Australian dollar meant demand was suppressed, and there would be little disruption for customers.

“There is a lot of manufacturing capacity out there because of the decline in the industry, with the mining industry too, so that also made more manufacturing capacity available,” she said.

“It will be a transition, but at the moment the demand is very, very low, so it won’t be too difficult to overcome.”

Diversification helps cope with downturn

Other aviation manufacturers in the region, such as Microair Avionics, have already diversified into other industries to cope with the downturn.

Ms Woods said despite the news about CAMit, there had been signs confidence was returning to the industry, at a recent air show in Narromine.

She said it was important manufacturing was supported in the region.

“It provides a lot to the local economy, so it is important in the area, and fortunately in Bundaberg we have a very pro-aviation council who work hard to develop this industry,” she said.

“We do need to overcome this and we will overcome it as we have overcome very many other challenges throughout the 27-year history of Jabiru.

“It will just be another challenge.”

3 comments to Camit closes in Bundaberg

  • Concerned Aviator

    From pprune:

    Old 11th Oct 2016, 16:37 #3 (permalink)
    Sunfish

    Join Date: Aug 2004
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Posts: 6,244

    There are legions of economists in Canberra who have built their careers on demonstrating that Australia is prevented by basic economic theory from manufacturing anything at all…..

    They believe our destiny is to be a quarry and a farm and they will stop at nothing to prove they are right.

    The champagne corks will be popping in treasury tonight as the CASA headquarters rocks to the tune “another one bites the dust”.

    Good job CASA, you have successfully destroyed yet another business. I’m sure your management will sleep soundly tonight.

    ……Now the next target must be Jabiru itself.

    Aussie Bob

    Join Date: Jul 2011
    Location: nosar
    Posts: 945

    I can speculate
    I have no idea why Camit folded but I can speculate ….

    First there was the OH&S bullshite that cripples workers and costs heaps in productivity.

    Then there was the insurance you blokes seem to love so much. Public liability shite springs to mind but also include workers comp that pays vast sums to idiots who cannot take responsibility for themselves and costs way more than it should.

    On top of that there was the general fear that liability may become an issue anyway – thanks to insurance companies and fearmongers, the latter of which are becoming all too common in Australia.

    Then there was pressure on the bottom line from their clients, forever wanting a cheaper product.

    Then CASA came knocking and wanted compliance with regulations that either didn’t exist or where they did, no one could understand them.

    Finally the Aussie grubs in grubment land came along and waved the legislation book. Again no one could understand what was written in it.

    Then finally the banks in a time of almost zero interest rates insisted on charging exorbitant interest and got away with it because no one wants to take them on.

    Just speculation. I must be bored.

  • Concerned Aviator

    from:

    wren 460

    Join Date: Oct 2003
    Location: Victoria Australia
    Age: 74
    Posts: 41

    Land cost
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBM-Legend View Post
    A friend from here is establishing production in USA of his products. Just purchased 10 acres 8 miles out of Dallas area for US$230,000 plus a holiday from the local council for 5 years on rates/taxes etc plus they’ll build his driveway off the highway..

    and the USA thinks it’s expensive…

    You’ll find that in Texas, and in particular Houston, practically all property is much better value than in Australia, Australia land of the “planner”, or just about the tightest land use laws, i.e. Government control over private land, in the world, according to the Economist.

    Houston with a fast growing population of 6 million has no, repeat no, land zoning. Therefore market forces prevail with all of the market efficiencies that flow therefrom. Why is our dollar so deflated? Why are your cups and saucers and GA aircraft so low in value in the view of the rest of the world?

    The city dweller thinking his home value is rocketing ever upward is chuffed to see this artificial zoning inspired value increase. Result? The western world’s biggest (mortgage bloated) banks and new owners, if they can get in at all are saddled with 30 year debt. Think I exaggerate? Google real estate Houston and you will find residential property at half ours compared with Melbourne or Sydney. Think that in terms of much lower mortgage burden, smaller and more proportionate banks. Capital available for schools, roads and hospitals. No thousands of planners to pay from the public purse and they have to work in the private sector. No endless AAT hearings and no lost opportunity costs.

    As one Houstonian put it, “it never ceases to amaze me how Houston reinvents itself”.. It is free to do so. Of course proposing a move in this direction here would have most people questioning one’s sanity. Never mind that this was the case, no zoning, in Australia during our period of greatest growth. Not to worry our Crown form of government always makes us subjects subject to the whim of our betters, be it Spring Street or Canberra. Can’tberra, the socialist, soulless and highly stratified home of zero freehold to near 400,000 dependent on the dopes that pay taxes and pay exorbitant fees to the dishonestly named Government Business Enterprises, monopolies, that now substitute for responsible government.

    The Commonwealth corporation, unhampered by Public Service law, who accepts a letter of expectations from the Minister. These instruments of government, government by remote control, with little incentive to do anything except to ego rule the roost and create ‘work’ and perks.

    Example of clever CASA make work, the senior instructor that had to cough $8000 up front to restart the flying school at Warrnambool using CASA’s own supposed standard manual.

    Would not have paid this in the States. Would not have to have waited six months. That one example but one out of the total shambles of a totally dysfunctional regulator that has smashed a perfectly good industry.

  • Concerned Aviator

    A comment from a long standing member of the aviation community:

    “…In my opinion, what happened to CAMIT is fairly straight forward.

    A severe cash flow crisis followed because of what CASA did to Jabiru.

    Not only the stalling of engines for Jabiru production, but the CASA action pulled the rug out from under the export market for just engines, which was a major part of engine production. In a highly competitive world market, Australian bureaucracy scores another own-goal for the opposition.

    It is not labor costs, because CAMIT is one of the most automated factories in Australia, and not certification bureaucracy, because they were (largely) uncertified engines.

    So ends what was the fourth (of fifth, depending on definitions) biggest manufacturer of aircraft piston engines in the world, and certainly the most technologically advanced, as a production facility.

    And I haven’t seen a word from the Minister…..”