Labor is planning to unleash a local spending and procurement program worth $15 billion under its Made in Australia Policy.
New Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese campaigned hard to redevelop Australia’s industrial base. He pledged investment in clean energy, medical manufacturing and emerging technologies.
With victory in the bag, the party also plans to spend tens of billions in government procurement with Australian businesses.
While Mr Albanese, the 31st Prime Minister of Australia, wants national cabinet to meet in person in the coming weeks to implementing Labor’s agenda, PASA takes a look at the main touch points for the procurement landscape.
Clean energy investment is the largest portion of Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund. The $15 billion package is being allocated to organisations which Labor believes can expand Australia’s capability in key areas through loans, equity and guarantees.
Within the $15 billion kitty is a $1 billion Critical Technologies Fund , a $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, a $1.5 billion Medical Manufacturing Fund, a $1 billion Value Adding in Resources Fund and a $500 million fund for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Food and Fiber (Innovationaus.com).
Also included in Labor’s plan is a National Rail Manufacturing Plan to ensure more trains are built Down Under.
Labor says it “will ensure that more trains are built in Australia by local manufacturing workers and that every dollar of Federal funding spent on rail projects goes towards creating local jobs and protecting our rail industry.”
Buy Australia Plan includes new procurement framework
The Albanese Labor Government plans to improve the way Australian Government contracts work, ensuring more opportunities are available to Australian businesses and their employees.
This falls under the 10-point Buy Australia Plan, which includes a policy to “level the playing field by bringing in a Fair Go Procurement Framework requiring those that gain government contracts to pay their fair share of tax.”
The other aspects of the ten-point plan include:
- Opening the door to more government work for more small and medium businesses by decoding and simplifying procurement processes
- Establishing a Future Made in Australia Office, backed up by laws that will lock in key elements of Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs)
- Maximising opportunities for Aussie businesses in major infrastructure projects
- Establishment of an Secure Australian Jobs Code to prioritise secure work in government contracts ensuring government has purchasing power is aligning with businesses that engage in fair, equitable, ethical and sustainable practices
- More opportunities for First Nations businesses, supporting long-term work
- Supporting industry sectors through the government’s purchasing power
- Use government spending power to take action on climate change and support energy projects
- Strengthen Defence industries and capability
- Making National Partnerships work to maximise the use of local workers and businesses
“The Australian Government has spent around $190 billion on government contracts over the last three financial years showing that procurement policy is a major economic lever available to drive the economic recovery from COVID-19,” Prime Minister Albanese said.
Australia’s peak body for innovation technology, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), called for the introduction of a new digital economy and government services minister and enhancements to digital procurement.
“The AIIA looks forward to working with the new Labor Government on implementation of its election policies including on skills and critical technologies such as AI and Quantum and its Future Made in Australia policy to support domestic tech procurement. It is with this in mind that the AIIA urges Labor to appoint a cabinet level Government Services and Digital Economy Minister,” the AIIA said.
AIIA CEO, Ron Gauci said the sector could employ 1.5 million Australians in the next few years if the government addresses our skills shortage and supports the sector.
“Our members have told us they are increasingly looking overseas for employees due to the talent squeeze. Red tape is restricting the digital economy and could be far better targets and coordinated. A dedicated cabinet minister is needed to address these issues and support the ongoing growth of our digital economy.”