WIMMERA manufacturing businesses are suffering as a downturn in the industry worsens.
The Mail-Times reported on Wednesday that Ararat-based electronics business AME Systems cut its operating hours because of a drop in sales.
Horsham-based business Danbar Plastics has also had a downturn in the number of drill bit boxes it makes for Sutton Tools.
Owner Jim Robertson said the carbon tax and international competitors had put pressure on Australian manufacturers.
"At this point we can't see that we are going to stop making the boxes altogether but there has been a reasonable drop," he said.
"We noticed a big drop-off when the carbon tax came in and it has definitely had a big effect on Australia's manufacturing.
"We can compete against China but the costs of doing business here are a lot more than what they are over there.
"We just have to keep things very tight."
The manufacturing downturn has also flowed through to other Wimmera organisations.
Disability employment service Axis Worx has been forced to halve its packaging program because of the drop in the number of Danbar Plastics drill bit boxes being produced.
Manager Bill Schmidt said despite the downturn, no Axis Worx employees had lost their jobs.
"We are not quite sure where the future is for drill packaging for us," he said.
"In the past we used to have 10 to 12 support employees working on packaging daily but we might only have five or six now.
"Luckily enough we are doing recycling so those employees are learning new skills and are being absorbed by the recycling program."
Mr Schmidt said three of Axis Worx' four major work suppliers Ararat-based agricultural business Gason, Stawell Gold Mine, Sutton Drills and CMI had all felt the pinch.
CMI closed its Horsham foundry last year, while Stawell Gold Mine is winding down its operations at Stawell.
"Three out of the four of the bigger manufacturers we work with have either decreased our work dramatically or ceased altogether," Mr Schmidt said.
"It is definitely hurting the guy at the end of the chain because it has affected us with work flow.
"It is not all doom and gloom for us though because recycling is the way of the future for our organisation."