Buy local policies to help Australian manufacturers

Image: Australian Made Campaign Ltd

The Australian Made Campaign (AMCL) is calling on Australia’s business community and all levels of government to adopt “buy Australian first” procurement policies to aid domestic manufacturing capability and fast-track the country’s resurgence from COVID-19.

The AMCL believes the federal government’s commitment to increase domestic manufacturing of critical products such as medical supplies is a “good start”, but “more needs to be done”.

AMCL CEO, Ben Lazzaro, said a coordinated approach to buy local was necessary for Australia’s long-term prosperity, and that it was important to balance local and offshore manufacturing.

“Let’s take a long-term view and increase our level of manufacturing self-sufficiency,” he said.

“Australia’s economic landscape will be forever changed.

“However, there is an opportunity for federal, state and local governments, as well as Australia’s business community, to take the lead and put policies in place that prioritise genuine Aussie products for major projects, supply contracts and everyday consumables.”

A recent Roy Morgan survey found while three quarters of businesses preferred buying Australian products, 26 per cent of those surveyed were found to have a policy in place.

Lazzaro said reinvestment in local industry and local jobs through sustainable purchasing policies would go “a long way to helping Australia bounce back”.

“The time is right to transition that preference into written policy,” he said.

“It comes at a time when there is also increasing awareness of the high quality and safety standards Australian producers must meet, as well as demonstrable value for money over product lifecycles—important considerations for procurement professionals.”

He said Australia’s over reliance on imported products has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Australian manufacturers have already demonstrated their capacity to adapt and innovate during these challenging times, with many re-tooling to produce much-needed medical supplies and equipment, Lazzaro said.

“It’s important that we don’t neglect this enormously effective resource,” he said.

“Australian manufacturers produce products made to some of the highest quality and safety standards in the world, while at the same time creating local economic activity and employment opportunities.”

The AMCL said there is an Australian option in almost every category of manufacturing, from furniture, bedding and health products, to building materials, industrial products and office consumables.

Lazzaro said given the rise in demand for locally made and grown goods by consumers and businesses alike, it was important for producers to market their products with prominent country-of-origin branding.

“Let’s leverage this unique skill-set on our doorstep to help build our infrastructure, furnish our schools and new building developments, provide beds and health enhancements for our healthcare facilities, or to simply keep our offices stocked with everyday supplies from Australian makers,” he said.