Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced an extra $35.6 million to train almost 7000 manufacturing workers to shift from low tech to high tech manufacturing technologies.
As Mr Rudd campaigns on skills in the second week of the campaign, he visited a research centre at Sydney's Macquarie University on Monday where he announced the additional funds.
The $35.6 million will create new training places for businesses seeking to shift from low tech to high tech manufacturing.
Mr Rudd said that improving the skills of existing workers was a high priority because about 43 per cent of the industry's workforce did not have a post-school qualification.
Mr Rudd said he believed in building the "new industries of the future" to adjust for the end of the mining boom - and to create the "new jobs of the future".
"I've always said before I never want to be the Prime Minister of a country that doesn't make things any more," he told reporters.
Mr Rudd said that if Labor was returned to office after the election, the money would help businesses to retrain their manufacturing workforces.
Funding for the $35.6 million measure is already included in the budget, according to Labor.
This initiative comes after Mr Rudd announced $35 million over three years for a new "Step into Skills" program on Sunday, to help disadvantaged young people find work.
On Monday in Adelaide, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey attacked Mr Rudd's approach to manufacturing, in particular for tightening the fringe benefits tax.
Last month, the federal government announced a crackdown on the fringe benefits tax for motor vehicles, which is expected to hit 320,000 car owners and save $1.8 billion over the forward estimates.
Mr Hockey said the Prime Minister was taking a "baseball bat" to the motor vehicle industry with the changes.
"That kills the demand side of the motor vehicle industry," he said. "We've got to focus on the demand side of the equation.
He dismissed the Rudd government's announcement of $200 million of funding for car manufacturing last week, calling it a "Band-aid over a bullet wound".
Mr Hockey also called Kim Carr the worst industry minister Australia had ever had.
The manufacturing debate comes as Treasury and the Department of Finance prepare to hand down the Pre-Election Fiscal and Economic Outlook on Tuesday.
The independent report by the secretaries of the two government departments includes updated estimates for the current financial year and the next three financial years.
In a controversial move last month, shadow treasurer Mr Hockey declared that the Coalition would not trust the PEFO, despite it being prepared by Treasury and Finance.
Mr Hockey had said it would use a range of other sources instead, including the Parliamentary Budget Office and state government colleagues.
But on Monday, Mr Hockey appeared more open to PEFO's assessment.
Mr Hockey said the Coalition would consider it carefully.
"We will have a look at PEFO tomorrow and we will consider it carefully," he said.
"We will not have a rash response. It is important to look carefully at the data, look carefully at the assumptions, look carefully at the forecasts and the mechanical projections."
Mr Hockey said the Coalition also would have more to say in the "not too distant future" on the costings of the policies it will take to the September 7 election.
"You'll see everything in due course," he said.
On Monday, Mr Rudd also announced an extra $12 million to expand medical technologies innovation, which has been offset from existing industry programs.