Keppel MP clarifies Buy Local policy in the wake of 'scare campaign'
KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga has moved to clarify the State Government's position on their 'Buy Queensland' policy in the wake of criticism from Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and LNP Minister for Trade Steven Ciobo.
During a debate in Federal Parliament on Monday, Ms Landry accused the State Government's new procurement policy to focus on buying locally as "protectionist” and "fundamentally flawed”.
"Changes to the procurement policy are well overdue and will be a welcome to small business, but to undermine Free Trade Agreements as part of this policy is a terrible mistake,” she said.
"If the Labor government persists with unravelling Free Trade Agreements, they will be guaranteeing that Queensland businesses will be slammed with a 30% penalty on exports.
"A 30% buy local weighting will push prices up while making sure Queensland businesses remain uncompetitive outside Government Procurement.”
According to the Queensland Government, the 'Buy Queensland' policy was designed to level the playing field for local businesses, boost local jobs and stimulate the economy.
Mrs Lauga has sought to clarify the State Government's policy for Ms Landry and called for her to be more proactive in backing local jobs.
"Our Government has announced a landmark Buy Queensland policy that will make sure that taxpayer dollars are invested on local projects and supporting local jobs,” Ms Lauga said.
"Our policy is all about supporting local trades, contractors and suppliers by ensuring that Queensland Government procurement is undertaken in our local area.
"Our policy has no impact whatsoever on export industries or agreements.
Mrs Lauga said Ms Landry had turned her back on local jobs and her opposition to the policy was a "hysterical scare campaign” and a slap in the face for small business across the region.
"No one should be shocked by this. We've seen Landry fail to stand up for jobs in Rocky and the Capricorn Coast time and time again,” she said.
She said there was a situation in Queensland where the Liberals wouldn't stand up for small business and the Nationals had turned their backs on the bush.
"For a senior Queensland LNP Minister like Steve Ciobo to be feeding our trading partners with misinformation in an attempt to score political points is just reckless,” Mrs Lauga said.
"We were ready to brief Department of Foreign Affairs officials on our policy but Steve Ciobo canned the briefing so he could run his silly scare campaign.
"Let's be clear here, the only people putting our trade standing at risk is Ciobo and the LNP.
"Malcolm Turnbull should tell him to pull his head in, get informed about the policy and stop talking down Queensland agriculture.”
LNP Minister Steven Ciobo has responded to Mrs Lauga's comments saying the Palaszczuk government was risking 500,000 Queensland trade jobs with its 'reckless' Buy Queensland campaign.
"More than 70% of Queensland exports in 2016 were to countries with which Australia has a Free Trade Agreement,” Mr Ciobo said.
"This could be put at risk if the Queensland Government applies a 30 per cent penalty on businesses from our trading partners who bid to supply goods and services.
"Labor's protectionist campaign could see the same 30% penalty applied to Queensland exports, such as sugar or beef, which would be catastrophic to our farmers.
"I am strongly urging the Queensland Government to scrap their reckless Buy Queensland campaign, to honour their commitments, and to stop threatening the thousands and thousands of jobs in agriculture.”
To set the record straight, Mrs Lauga has highlighted other key points of the 'Buy Queensland' policy:
- Require at least one local or regional supplier, and one other Queensland based business, to be invited to quote or tender for every procurement opportunity offered.
- For significant infrastructure projects $100 million and above, require the use of local sub-contractors and manufacturers where the local capability and capacity exists.
- Significant projects will be required, where possible, to expend 15% on apprenticeships - up from the current 10%.
- Deliver a more visible pipeline of opportunities for every Queensland business.
- Reduce complexity to assist Queensland industry prepare for government tenders, and provide resources to help them tender.
- Exempt business from the pre-qualification system for building contracts and Information and Communication Technologies projects under $1 million.
- Businesses tendering for government procurement contracts will need to have a permanent workforce in Queensland. They will need to offer fair wages, conditions and superannuation, and have good workplace health and safety records.