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Buy Australian: Labor acts to preserve local manufacturing

By: Chris Williams
26 August, 2011

The Gillard Labor Government is championing its Buy Australian at Home and Abroad initiative in an effort to help Australian suppliers benefit from the nation's major resources projects.

To that end former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is acting as Australia's first Resources Sector Supplier envoy, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson announced last week.

As part of the initiative, Beattie will work with Australian firms to help them cash in on the country’s continued resources boom.

"Helping our manufacturers better compete in the lucrative resources market is an important part of ensuring the future of manufacturing," Beattie said.

"This is the first step in the Buy Australian program and I look forward to working with Ministers Carr and Ferguson to finalise membership of the Resources Sector Supplier Advisory Forum by October 2011.

"Consultation on forum membership and priority areas for supplier advocates - for example in key fields such as steel, LNG, coal, iron ore and mining technology and services - will occur in the coming months."

Senator Carr said the Government was investing more than $50 million in supporting Australian industry win opportunities from the resources boom and other large procurements.

"Our plan is to work with companies to build partnerships, to build capabilities to ensure Australian firms are internationally competitive," Senator Carr said.

"This approach works. We use advocates in water, auto, rail, the built environment and ICT to help Australian companies and Australian workers."

There is now over $430 billion of planned investment in minerals and energy projects in Australia as well as significant investment in Africa, South America and Asia - offering enormous opportunities for our innovative manufacturing sector.

Senator Carr said the Gillard Labor Government believes that it makes sense to manufacture in Australia.
"It's our job to work with industry to capitalise on our competitive strengths," he said.

Minister Ferguson said supporting Australian businesses and buying Australian were an important part of extending the benefits of major projects in Australia to all Australians and ensuring ongoing community support for a rapidly growing industry.

"The Government believes that Australian businesses - wherever located - should be given a fair opportunity to compete to manufacture and supply goods or services to Australian resource projects," Ferguson said.

"We want to help Australian businesses improve their competitiveness and their ability to secure lucrative contracts. By also promoting linkages with global supply chains we can help turn opportunity into commercial reality."

Senator Carr said Australia has world-class manufacturers who can add value to major global resources projects, but that unfortunately some suppliers were missing out because of established global vendor lists and the trend towards pre-assembled modules.

"Buy Australian at Home and Abroad is about showcasing the strengths of local industry, improving their competitiveness, and helping them target the right opportunities," Senator Carr said.

This policy builds on established, successful programs like Enterprise Connect, the Industry Capability Network (ICN), Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) Program and the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme that provide unprecedented support to Australian companies.

Additional funding is being provided to the ICN through the SAMP program to embed procurement specialists in major resources projects. According to the government this has already yielded results, with ICN reporting to date that, as a result of SAMP funding, over $3.5 billion worth of contracts have been won by Australian and New Zealand industry that may otherwise have been contracted offshore.

Over 650 firms have been engaged with the Supplier Advocates Program. Australian firms have benefited from capability showcasing to customers and participating in Supplier Advocate led international trade missions.

In the water and rail sectors firms participating in trade missions have estimated that they have been exposed to over $180 million in additional opportunities as a result of the program.

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Paddy | Friday, September 2, 2011, 11:28 AM
So you are promoting "buy Australian" "eh" well Fair Dinkum mate this is the best i've heard for a long time. What about the Goverenment!!!!! is it an Australian company that is suppling the steel for the gas pipe in QLD??? Why are so many companies sending all their manufacturing off shore? Because they are not getting a fair deal, that's why. Tax the stuff that is coming into Aussie not the stuff that we arew trying to send out. That will help the manufacturing sector. All this cheap rubbish that they let come into the country that only lasts as long as the wrapping that it comes in. Fair Dinkum mate lets wake up and look after the guys that we need and live with.