Criticism levelled at government for lack of buy local focus
BY AWARDING contracts to local businesses, government procurement policies can support the region’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, but one election candidate believes more could be done.
One Nation’s candidate for Rockhampton Torin O’Brien has taken aim at Queensland’s former LNP and current Labor governments for awarding contracts to multinational companies at the disadvantage of Queensland businesses.
“We recently heard about Labor awarding contracts to China’s Huawei for Cross-River Rail fail in Brisbane,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Now news, the LNP when in government contracted the rolling stock trains in China under slave labour claims.
“One Nation will fight to make sure a ‘BuyLocal’ strategy is in place putting Queensland business first by merit base.”
Labor’s incumbent local MP’s for Keppel, Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton, Barry O’Rourke have come out in defence of their government’s Buy Queensland policy which “aims to invest Queensland taxpayers dollars invested in Queensland jobs, by backing businesses that employ Queenslanders. Taxpayers would expect nothing less”.
Since 2017, the Buy Queensland program has invested $23.5 billion in goods and services with more than 48,000 Queensland businesses with an additional $900 million spent in the 2018/19 financial year.
They said Queensland was the first state to set a target to do business with more local Queensland small and medium sized businesses.
The Small Business Procurement Target dedicated 25 per cent of government spending to Queensland small business, which came into effect yesterday.
Ms Lauga said the COVID-19 pandemic had really highlighted the importance of local supply chains and why we should be investing heavily in the local manufacturing industry.
“It’s been amazing to watch our manufacturers respond to the pandemic to keep important production lines flowing,” she said.
“The Queensland Government’s $46 million Made in Queensland program was generating more than 900 jobs and $92 million in private sector investment over the next five years.
“With our support, companies are innovating, expanding and providing highly skilled jobs for Central Queenslanders.”
Mr O’Rourke said the government had made a $30 million commitment to manufacturing hubs in Rockhampton, as well as Gladstone, Townsville and Cairns, which were transforming the industry.
“We have a terrific partnership with CQU and the program is helping workers build on existing expertise and access new market opportunities,” he said.
“My priority is creating jobs, improving productivity and building international competitiveness.”
During the pandemic downturn, Mr O’Rourke had a great response after visiting dozens local businesses to drum up support for them on social media.
The Federal Government has also aimed to support local businesses during the roll out of large scale infrastructure projects such as the $1 billion plan to upgrade the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
Laing O’Rourke was awarded the contract which would involve 80 per cent local content.
Local businesses are already hard at work at the site.
The Queensland Government is also running a Go Local, Grow Local initiative which aims to help Queensland businesses promote their products and services, and encourages Queenslanders to support small businesses in their community by shopping locally.
‘Go local first’ national campaign to support Capricornia’s small businesses
A national campaign has been launched to support the recovery of Australia’s small businesses by calling on all Australians to ‘Go Local First’.
Funded by the Federal Government, the campaign led by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) will urge Australians to ‘Go Local First’ when they are purchasing products and services to help the small business sector get back on its feet.
The campaign will highlight the vital role of small businesses in our nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Minister for Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said now more than ever Australian small businesses needed local communities to back them and support their recovery by choosing to shop with them either in-person or online.
“Australians know when they make the choice to go to their local small businesses, they are supporting their community and the national economy as a whole,” Senator Cash said.
The ‘Go Local First’ campaign will feature numerous small businesses from across Australia including cafes, chemists, retailers, trades, hairdressers, butchers, accountants and bookkeepers.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said spending with local small businesses kept money within communities, helping the local economy thrive.
“This campaign is all about getting behind your local small business whether it is your local baker, plumber, barista or butcher for example,” Ms Landry said.
“Every small business employs locals in our community. It’s time we all come together and support one another.
“The resourcefulness of Australians working together will see us emerge stronger on the other side.
“I encourage everyone in our local community to actively support this campaign and do whatever you can to back our fantastic small and family businesses and Go Local First.”
Over the coming months, Australians will see the ‘Go Local First’ message on TV, radio, online and in their community.