IN an effort to boost local manufacturing jobs, Victorian Premier John Brumby has called for a national approach to buying trains and major infrastructure, asking the federal government for subsidies to assist manufacturers competing in tough international markets.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Brumby said as long as the states continued to make independent, sporadic purchases, local manufacturers would be outpriced by competitors overseas.
He called for the states to pool their buying power and coordinate demand to give the manufacturing industry certainty.
“If you think of the billions of dollars – and that’s what you’re talking about – of rolling stock that will be procured in the next decade … by respective state governments – Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland together – it is a great opportunity to generate local jobs,” Brumby said.
“But it can’t happen if states just go it alone one after another, because it’s very, very difficult to compete against the big manufacturers in Europe who’ve got long, forward (production) pipelines at work.”
He said the plan would require federal government support in the form of subsidies like those paid to the motoring, textiles and defence industries.
A spokesman for Kevin Rudd confirmed that government procurement policies had been raised in the lead-up to the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting.