Victoria Police dumps TCF manufacturer, outsources to China

Victoria Police has dumped Australian textile manufacturer Bruck in favour of getting its officers’ shirts made in China, sparking outrage from the textile union chief, who claims the job should’ve been given to a Victorian supplier. 

A $1 million contract has been awarded to a Queensland importer that sources its material from China, according to the Herald Sun.

A spokesperson for textile manufacturer Bruck told the newspaper that there wasn’t anything wrong with the product it was supplying for the police shirts.

"Bruck certainly has a long history of supplying this product. The quality has never been questioned," he said.

The Bruck spokesperson also said he wasn’t aware of any invitations to local companies to tender for the business.

Textile union chief Michele O’Neil told the Herald Sun that the decision to import the materials was an affront to the local textiles sector.

"This is a kick to our industry. If this Government cares about Victorian jobs, they should be giving Victorian industry their support,” she said.

The local textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) market has reported plenty of bad news of late, with various manufacturers closing down due to increased pressure from overseas competition. 

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) last month signed a $7.8 million contract with a US TCF supplier to make a new camouflage combat uniform for Australian troups.

Also last month, 24 Illawarra TCF workers lost their jobs following Fairy Meadow’s Poppets Schoolwear going into administration.

In May, Myer announced it would double its outsourcing to China to $200 million by 2016.

The government is attempting to help the failing TCF industry through grants, however it isn’t forcing big businesses to buy locally.

The government has launched the TCF Strategic Capability Program, announced in April this year, which is a five-year, $35 million investment scheme to build Australia’s capabilities.

This includes the TCF Small Business Program, which grants over 60 Australian TCF companies a share of $2.5 million to upgrade their manufacturing and management processes.

Image from Heraldsun.com.au