Manufacturing News

SEMMA welcomes ‘fresh focus’ in lead-up to election

Manufacturers’ representative group South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA) has welcomed the “fresh focus” being placed on manufacturing in the lead-up to the Victorian State Election, but has reminded both major parties to make sure they pay more than lip service to the sector.

According to SEMMA, the Victoria manufacturing sector is a key engine of growth both for Victoria and the nation at large.

SEMMA has reportedly been for the most part encouraged by the launch of the Brumby Government’s policy, Looking to the Future: Securing Victorian Manufacturing Jobs, although it has questioned whether more could have been done considering the sector’s huge economic importance to the State.

It has called on the Liberal Party to urgently release its manufacturing policy so that Victorians have a proper opportunity to consider both major parties’ vision for the sector prior to the election.

“Victorian manufacturers already contribute almost $30 billion a year to the State economy and is the State’s second largest employment sector,” said SEMMA executive officer, Paul Dowling.

“We look forward to working with all levels of Government after the election to implement policies that will benefit local manufacturers and create a more robust and vibrant State economy.”

He added that SEMMA was committed to work with the Government to quickly implement the recommendations of the 2009 Inquiry into Manufacturing in Victoria to ensure the sustainability and global competitiveness of the local manufacturing industry.

“We naturally welcome the Government’s proposed $20 million boost for the sector, but believe that an even more significant benefit would arise if the Government makes good its pledge to foster an environment which encourages more local Victorian content in Government agency contracts and procurement plans,” said Dowling.

The Government has confirmed its commitment to the Industry Capability Network (ICN) and Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) which has been especially welcomed by SEMMA as an important first step toward getting higher Victorian content into Government contracts.

A key element of SEMMA’s recent alternative industry participation model ‘Capability & Industry Participation Policy’ calls for the ICN to be given greater authority to influence all Government agencies on their procurement practices with a view to maximising local content and at the same time provide best value for all Victorian taxpayers.

“In the past we have had a situation where local companies have not felt they operated on a level playing field compared to international rivals when bidding for work on projects such as the Victorian Desalination Plant, where despite the ICN’s best efforts some local manufacturers were refused the opportunity to quote,” said Dowling.

“Both sides of Parliament need to grasp how important it is for the long term health of this sector that local manufacturers — including small and medium enterprises — be allowed to compete fairly and vigorously for Government contracts on a best value basis.”

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