The importance of supporting 'Australian-Made' can never be understated, yet the term itself may need some closer investigation.
Michael Pawson, Managing Director of ReCoila, an Australian hose and cable reel company, is a staunch advocate of locally made products, having constantly had battles with imported products, many of which he describes as being "inferior" to locally manufactured items.
Companies in Australia only have to show 50 per cent local content to qualify as 'Australian-Made', but it is at this point that the term becomes muddied, according to Pawson. (Read AUSTRALIAN MADE, AUSTRALIAN GROWN LOGO CODE OF PRACTICE; Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law)
The "hidden realities" of Australian Made
"The term 'Australian-Made' has some hidden realities that aren't properly understood or they are open to exploitation," he said.
"This 50 per cent component is allowing some companies to claim items such as tools used in assembly and the mere cardboard packaging and overhead expenses within the framework of the definition, so this is where the process is, in a way, being abused.
"But this near-spurious 50 per cent component regularly qualifies as so-called 'Australian-Made' equipment that is then being purchased and used within many sectors of Australian industry without the consumer realising.
"With the overall local component of manufacture effectively disguised, end-users are exposed to potentially inferior products on the belief they are in fact quality locally made product.
"In such cases this can lead to unexpected maintenance costs, warranty costs and failure costs among other headaches.
"There should be a business community of Australian-Made suppliers working in a perfect circle, but even though businesses are learning more, education should be encouraged about the true stipulations of Australian-Made and how it is potentially open to various degrees of exploitation.
"Local industry should buy local product – it is our obligation for the future success of local industry, local employment and technological advancement in the global market.
"Those supporting this ethical approach to succession should have faith that when purchasing Australian Made it truly is 'Australian made' and the buck stops here."