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Case Study on Supporting Industries

Client: APEC Policy Support Unit
Project date
Qualitative research
Qualitative research
Quantitative research

Background: Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) make up a large portion of supporting industries, serving a wide range of manufacturing industries and playing important roles in local, regional and global supply chains. Supporting industries represent those parts of the supply chain which enable manufacturers to produce their final goods. Over time, government policies to support industry and their associated supply chains can have varied effects, with implications for broader trade and economic development.

Sustineo undertook research and delivered a case study which examined government policies to support the four largest manufacturing sub-sectors in the state of South Australia – food and beverage manufacturing; transport equipment manufacturing; machinery and equipment manufacturing; and fabricated metal products manufacturing. This project supported the broader “APEC Supporting Industry Initiative,” which was endorsed in 2016 as part of a broader organisational priority of modernizing MSMEs in the APEC region.

Approach: Sustineo employed a mixed-methods approach to the development and delivery of the case study. We undertook a comprehensive review of relevant academic and policy literature as part of establishing an analytical framework for the project. Additional review of secondary source material, including academic studies of innovation and manufacturing industry, publicly available statistics and government announcements, and analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data on inputs and outputs of the relevant industries, refined this framework and framed the context for primary data collection.  Sustineo undertook 19 key informant interviews with industry, research and development, and government actors to add depth and nuance to the findings. Sustineo’s approach to analysis was to undertake an integrated assessment of different data aligned with an analytical framework to deliver a comprehensive assessment of government policies to support to manufacturing sub-sectors in South Australia.

Outcome: Sustineo provided a comprehensive case study of South Australia’s supporting major industries which revealed both supply chain specific trends and wider impacts of Australian policy approaches on supporting industry MSMEs. Our assessment found that South Australian supporting industry MSMEs relied heavily on a suite of state level and federal legislation to do business. Based on this understanding, our team recommended areas for further coordination between state and federal government policies to support South Australian MSMEs. This case study contributed an Australian perspective on the APEC Policy Support Unit’s project of promoting supporting industries. The final report is available here.