Employers, unions welcome govt support for local suppliers

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Employers, unions welcome govt support for local suppliers

Unions and employers have welcomed a new Federal Government policy to ensure local companies and products are at least considered by corporations bidding for major government-funded projects.

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Unions and employers have welcomed a new Federal Government policy to ensure local companies and products are at least considered by corporations bidding for major government-funded projects.
 
The new policy was announced yesterday by Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr.
 
It means that all companies building major government-funded infrastructure will have to prove they have considered local company tenders and that their tenderers comply with Labor's industrial relations laws.
 
No automatic price preference
 
However, the new policy does not give automatic price preference to local companies.
 
Senator Carr said that according to Access Economics, in June this year, $230 billion worth of major investment projects were under way or committed in Australia, with another $464 billion on the drawing board.
 
Key points of the policy are:
  • eminent business specialists will be appointed as Supplier Advocates to champion Australian industry in the government marketplace and improve competitiveness
  • tenderers will be required to submit Australian industry participation plans that give local business a fair go at winning major Commonwealth contracts and work on Commonwealth-funded infrastructure projects, including projects supported by the Building Australia Fund.
 
Know what’s on offer
 
‘Our job is to make sure firms know what’s on offer and are geared up to make the most of the opportunities available,’ Carr said.
 
‘We believe Australian firms can be highly competitive on timeliness, capability, quality and whole-of-life costs.'
 
‘The Supplier Advocates will help small- and medium-sized businesses market their products to government buyers and will champion sectoral initiatives to improve competitiveness.'
 
‘They will also help coordinate support from the Industry Capability Network, Enterprise Connect, Austrade and other programs.’
 
‘Good policy’ says Ai Group
 
Heather Ridout, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said the plan was ‘good policy’.
 
She said it will support Australian industry to be a more active player in competing for government tenders.
 
‘The new funding will ensure that the government’s infrastructure spending translates into orders for locally-based companies and jobs for local workers,’ Ridout said.
 
Support for workers, says ACTU
 
The ACTU said working Australians and local industries stand to gain from new guidelines.
 
ACTU president Sharan Burrow said unions have strongly pushed for taxpayer funded projects to maximise Australian jobs and strengthen local industry.
 
‘We welcome these guidelines, which will provide an important boost to job security for Australian workers,’ she said.
 
‘It is a positive example of how the government’s spending power can be used to deliver benefits to working Australians and strengthen our economy.’
 
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