The Australian Workers Union has urged the federal government to consider purchasing decisions in strengthening industrial capacity.
In a submission to the lower house’s Inquiry into Procurement Practices for Government-Funded Infrastructure, the union said over a tenth of the Commonwealth’s $54 billion procurement of goods and services last year was spent on building construction, support, maintenance and repair services.
National secretary Dan Walton said purchasing decisions should better consider national industrial sovereignty, and that decades of purely cost-based decisions had “devastated” jobs and businesses.
“Australia continues to fall in the rankings of our ability to develop and sell new products, based on a lack of local economic complexity. We’ve already seen what happens when we can’t make things here, and governments have a new opportunity to build our local supply chains,” Walton said in a statement.
Infrastructure relied on suppliers of materials, and manufacturers of these were a “vital cog in the broader industrial wheel,” citing locally-made steel.
Modelling had shown $1 million in steel industry output produces six direct and 10 indirect jobs and roughly $1.8 million in gross value added.
“Along the entire supply chain, Australian steel creates $29 billion of economic benefits and employs more than 100,000 people,” said Walton.
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