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 help fast-track the country’s resurgence post-COVID-19.
Recognising the federal government’s recent commitment to support an increase in the domestic manufacturing of critical products as a good start, AMCL believes more can be done.
According to AMCL chief executive Ben Lazzaro, a co-ordinated push to “buy local” has the potential to play a big part in getting Australia back on track.
“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,” he said.
“Reinvesting in local industry and local jobs through sustainable purchasing policies will go a long way towards helping Australia bounce back.”
Research conducted by Roy Morgan Research in 2017 found that while three-quarters of businesses had a preference for buying Australian products, only 26 per cent of those surveyed were found to have an official policy in place.
“The time is right to transition that preference into written policy,” Mr Lazzaro said.
He believes that Australia’s overreliance on imported products has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s time to address this imbalance,” Mr Lazzaro said.
“Let’s take a long-term view and increase our level of manufacturing self-sufficiency. While there will always be a requirement for imports, it’s important we get the balance right between local and offshore manufacturing to ensure Australia’s long-term prosperity.”
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.
“It’s important that we don’t neglect this enormously effective resource,” Mr Lazzaro continued.
“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.”
He stressed that in nearly every product category, there is an Australian option, from furniture, bedding and health products through to building materials, industrial products and office consumables.
“So, 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,” Mr Lazzaro said.