LNP launch 'Buy Local' policy in Rocky and Labor responds
LOCAL businesses like Wayne Barton's could be in line to receive a welcome financial boost courtesy of the LNP's version of the 'Buy Local' policy.
Norosco Director Wayne Barton, who has owned the Rockhampton business with his wife for the past decade, welcomed LNP Shadow Housing and Public Works Minister Stephen Bennett along with LNP candidates for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers and Keppel Peter Blundell to hear more details about the policy unveiled yesterday.
Mr Barton said his business was missing out on access to the government procurement process and the proposed changes by the LNP to favour local tenders had the potential to greatly improve their financial outlook.
Mr Barton said he currently employed 12 staff and 15% of the company's workload came from government work.
"We're pretty diverse, we sell everything from hoses and fittings right through to big screw compressors, anything to do with transfer of fluid, air or hydraulics
"(But) often we don't even get the opportunity to quote (the government) on the supply of product,” Mr Barton said.
When asked whether they could outbid larger companies for tenders, Mr Barton said they could in certain areas and he expected a greater level of success if they teamed up with other local contractors and suppliers.
"I think there would be a domino effect if more local businesses got involved and banded together to try and tackle these larger companies that are coming from interstate,” he said.
Mr Barton admitted the paperwork side of the tendering process certainly took up a lot of time for his business and he'd like to see it streamlined with extra governmental support.
Explaining their policy, Mr Bennett said businesses like Norosco would have their red tape slashed and would gain from their "price match guarantee” favouring local tenders over outsiders if they equalled the lowest bid.
"If a local business that's headquartered in Queensland and has a workforce in the project area matches the lowest bid - they'll get the job,” Mr Bennett said.
"'Buy Local' covers the 99 per cent of local businesses in Queensland. These are small to medium enterprises employing less than 200 staff. It really is about creating more local jobs.”
He said the LNP 'Buy Local' policy would also open up the tender process to a wider number of local businesses that would ordinarily be excluded and wouldn't threaten free trade agreements like the current clash between the Queensland Government and New Zealand.
Rockhampton LNP candidate Douglas Rodgers said it was important when government jobs and contracts are awarded that they are awarded to local businesses that employ local people.
"It's such a good policy for regional Queensland, the seven different regions along the coast are set to benefit, it provides jobs to communities where the work is being done,” Mr Rodgers said.
"It means we've got local businesses better able to operate on a level playing field with larger interstate competitors.”
Keppel LNP candidate Peter Blundell also threw his support behind the policy.
"You quite often hear about companies and businesses who are having trouble with procurement and government projects,” Mr Blundell said.
"This policy will deliver great value for taxpayers. This is a really exciting step forward, it's going to deliver some great job outcomes.”
ROCKHAMPTON MP Bill Byrne has responded to the LNP's 'Buy Local' policy announcement in Rockhampton yesterday, saying they were trying to play catch-up.
"Douglas Rodgers and Tim Nicholls have been embarrassed and dragged kicking and screaming to try and match the Palaszczuk government's Buy Queensland Policy,” MrByrne said.
"Once again, the LNP are out showing that they can't be trusted.
"The LNP's procurement policy is a sham that opens the doors for overseas businesses to undercut Queensland suppliers.”
Mr Byrne said it was an insult to every regional community, every Queensland small business and every apprentice looking to get a start under 'Buy Queensland'.
"The Palaszczuk government's 'Buy Queensland' strategy is about making sure that when taxpayers' dollars are spent on government contracts, those funds create jobs in Queensland and are not spent sending our jobs overseas,” he said.
"We are unashamedly tipping the balance in favour of Queensland jobs and Queensland businesses and we won't be apologising for that.
"Tim Nicholls's dodgy price matching policy shows that the only thing the LNP cares about is the lowest price irrespective of quality.”
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the policy will force Queensland businesses to compete on price with companies in places like China, the Philippines and India.
"Every small business I've spoken to has welcomed our commitment to delivering local work and local jobs, which is why the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has described our policy as a 'real shot in the arm' for Queensland small business.”