Industry and employment minister Ben Carroll announcing the manufacturing cluster. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

LOCAL manufacturers and suppliers can win more work and resolve a myriad of challenges through collaboration that will be set up formally as a Bendigo manufacturing cluster.

Australian Industry Group, Bendigo Manufacturing Group and the City of Greater Bendigo will get to work this week on how the cluster will work.

The challenges and opportunities before it are clearer and could include attracting more skilled workers to Bendigo, sharing contacts in local supply chains and working further on rationalising an energy supply.

Industry minister Ben Carroll announced the cluster in Bendigo this week, and awarded the project a share in a $5 million Victoria-wide pool of money to be shared with other regional centres.

“The Bendigo cluster is about bringing companies like (defence vehicle manufacturer) Thales, (engineering firm) Hoffmann and Australian Turntables together, linking their skills, bringing their supply chain and talking to tertiary institutions to make sure there is a supply chain of skills, and a supply chain of jobs,” Mr Carroll said.

Australian Turntables executive chairman Paul Chapman said his business faced difficulties recruiting skilled engineers, but the challenge was the same for all manufacturers.

“We plead with educators and the government to work on that, that is a long term strategy,” Mr Chapman said.

“Skills shortages are a problem for everyone and we have to work on that.”

Bendigo Manufacturing Group chairman Mark Brennan said the group represented 17 key companies that represented the views to council of manufacturers in greater Bendigo.

BMG is about to release a strategic plan which aligns to the council’s 30-year plan.

Mr Brennan said many of the initiatives in the plan could be resourced within the cluster.

He said there were 400 local small and medium manufacturers, most of whom would benefit from the initiative.