Labor’s Buy Australian Plan
During COVID we have seen the best of Australians supporting Australians.
Labor wants to seize on the values that have seen Australia through its darkest times to power Australia into the future.
Australia has an abundance of talent, resources and innovation. We have world-class workers, businesses and entrepreneurs.
What we lack is a government who backs them. A government willing to put its money where its mouth is.
A Labor government will fix that, building a stronger future for all of us as we do.
Right now, too many Australian businesses are missing out on billions of dollars of Government contracts right here in Australia that are going to international competitors.
Labor does not want to see Australians losing out on work in Australia. That’s just not the Australian way.
Australian businesses should be given a leg up when it comes to supplying things for our country, not put behind the rest of the world.
That’s why we’ve come up with a plan to make things easier for Australian businesses to compete for work in Australia. It’s the right thing to do.
This will be good for Australian businesses, Australian jobs, Australian families, and good for the economy.
Supporting Australian jobs and businesses.
Procurement is a significant economic driver in Australia with reported government spending on contracts totalling nearly $190 billion over the last three financial years.
Labor believes that when governments use taxpayer dollars to purchase goods and services, they should aim to maximise that spend on Australian soil – working with Australian industry and securing local jobs.
Labor in government will ensure that the purchasing power of the Commonwealth is leveraged to support Australian businesses and jobs, to level the playing field between
larger and smaller businesses, to promote local content, and to promote skills and training pathways to drive the economic recovery from COVID-19.
Labor’s policies will promote opportunities for increased self-sufficiency in certain industries and growth in new and emerging industries.
As part of this commitment, Labor will apply specific focus to encouraging regionally based businesses to apply for government contracts.
Labor’s plans for procurement reform represent another chapter in our broader plans for the nation for a Future Made In Australia coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Establish a Future Made in Australia Office.
When it comes to procurement opportunities, a lot of small and medium businesses, as well as First Nations businesses, don’t even know where to begin and how to express interest.
Labor believes that everyone should be given a level playing field when it comes taking part in government purchases.
Labor will establish a Future Made in Australia Office that will focus on promoting government purchasing opportunities to Australian businesses, with a special focus on small businesses, First Nations businesses and bringing opportunities to regional communities.
The office will also provide advisory and support functions to government agencies about the FMA policy.
Labor will also task the Future Made in Australia Office with legislating key elements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules including the Future Made in Australia Act which will seek to maximise the use of Australian-made goods, products and materials in Commonwealth contracts.
Infrastructure projects that support Australian business and grow jobs.
Labor will provide more opportunities for Australian companies to participate in the infrastructure pipeline by levelling the playing field for local companies versus large multinational firms.
95% of the top 20 infrastructure projects worth more than $500m between 2015 and 2020 were delivered by contractors with foreign ownership.
Mid and small tier companies argue that current government purchasing rules favour ‘Tier 1’ internationally owned companies in tenders for major infrastructure work due to their ability to meet guarantees in a single tender and fulfil certain insurance arrangements.
Labor will commit to work with states, territories and local governments to, where possible, break up larger contracts in a way that allows smaller, Australian-owned companies to bid for tender.
Under our Jobs and Skills Australia policy, we will ensure that we have the local capabilities to deliver projects and, if we don’t, we’ll determine what is required to make sure Australians get the training they need for the jobs they want.
Greater opportunities for small business.
Labor will maximise SME participation in Commonwealth procurement, providing greater opportunities for business and Australian jobs.
Labor will minimise the number of hoops businesses have to jump through to take advantage of government buying power by reviewing, removing or harmonising procurement rule requirements that overlap with current industry standards, such as workplace health and safety standards.
Labor will make it easier for small businesses to gain membership within panel arrangements that allow agencies to purchase from them directly by opening up these panels more frequently and streamlining the requirements of membership.
Labor will also increase the threshold where agencies can directly engage SMEs from $200,000 up to $500,000.
Labor will introduce a requirement that, where possible, at least 4 per cent of research and development in government funded agencies worth over $50 million would be sourced locally from small businesses.
A Secure Australian Jobs Code.
Job security for all Australians is at the heart of Labor’s vision.
Labor will introduce a Secure Australian Jobs Code to ensure that taxpayers’ money being spent through government contracts is being used to support secure employment for Australian workers.
This code will establish guidelines with regards to:
The fair treatment of workers.
Fair and reasonable wages and conditions.
Ethical and sustainable practices such as ensuring environmentally sustainable outcomes.
Compliance with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
The consideration of local industry workforce capability and capacity, particularly in regional Australia.
More opportunities for owned and operated First Nations businesses.
Labor believes that Indigenous procurement policy is about more than just the number of Indigenous procurement contracts or the value of these contracts.
Labor will make assess Indigenous procurement contracts on their ability to maximise employment and skills transfer for First Nations people so that these contracts may provide people with the opportunity to get involved in long-term skilled work.
Labor will also carry out audits to ensure that First Nations businesses and individuals are not being taken advantage of to gain access to Indigenous procurement opportunities.
Fair Go Procurement Framework and AusTender Reform.
Labor will strengthen the requirement for companies to declare whether they are paying their fair share of tax in Australia, including disclosure of any use of tax havens as part of their financial arrangements.
Labor will improve transparency by ensuring that there is consistency in the way that contracts are described and categorised on AusTender.
Labor will improve AusTender functionality by requiring the total value of multi-year contracts to be made public, meaning that actual expenditure is able to be tracked
Labor will require contract amendments to be published with a reason for amendment.
Labor will ensure contracts are reported within the 42 day rule with the view to regularly report entities that fail to meet this reporting requirement.
Future Made in Australia industry plans.
Labor, in government, will support industry sectors through our government buying power.
These plans will target elevating SMEs, particularly regional businesses, to become competitive for Commonwealth projects.
As part of our National Reconstruction Fund’s investment mandate, Labor will require that investments look to reward applications which support local businesses and jobs as well as training and skills transfer opportunities.
Labor will work with the textile, clothing and footwear industry to determine how more locally manufactured TCF can be purchased by Commonwealth entities for uniforms, merchandise etc.
Labor will also develop procurement guidelines that encourage the purchase of Australian-made paper and boxes.
Climate change and energy procurement.
Labor will leverage Commonwealth investments like the Rewiring the Nation initiative to create new energy jobs and reduce emissions.
Labor will use government purchases in the area of Defence to support Australian jobs and businesses by increasing opportunities to participate in the market.
Defence has a total budget of $570 billion from 2020 to 2030, which includes $270 billion for future capabilities.
Labor has already announced a Defence Industry Development Strategy that will put Australian workers and Australian security first, using the $270 billion worth of defence spending to back local industry and bring more projects on shore.
National Agreement on Future Made in Australia.
Labor will work with States and Territories to ensure national partnership agreements support Australian businesses and jobs.
The Commonwealth provides over $20 billion annually to the States and Territories through national partnership agreements.
A Labor Government will ensure that tendered work through these partnerships maximises opportunities for local business and jobs.