A new Victorian Government report recommending the lifting of local content restrictions for government tenders has been slammed by Ballarat manufacturers and trade groups.
Ballarat Trades Hall president Brett Edgington told The Courier that the effect of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s report on the local manufacturing industry could be devastating.
“It would mean the loss of jobs and industries in Ballarat producing state government tender items like trains and emergency service vehicles, as the government is free to simply import them from overseas,” Mr Edgington said.
The report stated that governmentt projects could be delivered at lower costs if local content rules were scrapped.
“Government agencies involved in procurement will be best placed if they can select the best value solution from Australia and abroad,” the report stated.
“Job retention and job creation should not be (government procurement policy) objectives… the real issue is the capacity of Victorian firms to be, or to become, competitive.”
However metal pressings and assemblies manufacturer OzPress said that protecting jobs was a key to the governement’s responsibilities.
“The reality is that it’s the government’s responsibility to protect the quality of life and jobs for Australians,” he said.
Mr Dwyer said Australian businesses were forced to innovate and diversify to survive.
“It’s tough to be competitive internationally. The government doesn’t have a long-term strategy.”