28/07/2009 - 11:36

$19m to boost local content on projects

28/07/2009 - 11:36


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The federal government has announced a $19.1 million funding boost towards a participation framework that will help Australian businesses get a fairer go at winning government and private sector contracts.

The federal government has announced a $19.1 million funding boost towards a participation framework that will help Australian businesses get a fairer go at winning government and private sector contracts.


The announcement is below:



Australian industry and workers will get a fairer go at winning government and private sector contracts under a stronger industry participation framework thanks to a $19.1 million funding boost announced today by Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr.

This is about getting people to buy Australian at home and abroad.

According to Access Economics, in June this year $230 billion worth of major investment projects were under way or committed in Australia, with another $464 billion on the drawing board.

The value of work available internationally is many times higher than this, with the global government procurement market alone worth an estimated $14 trillion.

We want to give Australian firms the best chance of getting in the game and the best chance of winning.

The Government will require Australian industry participation plans from firms bidding for the Commonwealth's own major procurements and infrastructure projects.

These plans encourage project proponents to familiarise themselves with Australian industry capabilities, identify qualified local suppliers, and communicate supply opportunities for major projects and procurements.

Several measures will be introduced to strengthen the framework:

- The Industry Capability Network (ICN) will receive an extra $8.5 million over four years through the Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program to give companies a better chance of securing work. The ICN uses procurement experts to link Australian companies to public and private sector project opportunities in Australia and overseas.

- Eminent business specialists will be appointed as Supplier Advocates to champion Australian industry in the government marketplace and improve competitiveness ($8.2 million over four years).

- Tenderers will be required to submit Australian industry participation plans that give local business a fair go at winning major Commonwealth contracts and work on Commonwealth-funded infrastructure projects, including projects supported by the Building Australia Fund ($2.5 million over four years).

This is about improving access and building capabilities. We don't send our athletes off the Olympics without giving them a solid preparation. The same principle should apply to Australian industry.

Our job is to make sure firms know what's on offer and are geared up to make the most of the opportunities available. We believe Australian firms can be highly competitive on timeliness, capability, quality and whole-of-life costs.

The Supplier Advocates will help small and medium-sized businesses market their products to government buyers and will champion sectoral initiatives to improve competitiveness. They will also help coordinate support from the Industry Capability Network, Enterprise Connect, Austrade and other programs.

The Government is also tightening the guidelines for the Enhanced Projects By-law Scheme and Tariff Concession System. The aim is to strengthen Australian industry participation requirements for private sector investment projects that access the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme.

At the same time, we will work with the States and Territories to update the intergovernmental agreement covering the National Framework for Australian Industry Participation.

It is essential that we link government procurement more effectively to industry development, innovation and training. We also need to make Australian industry participation requirements simpler and more consistent across jurisdictions.

All of these measures are consistent with the Government's commitment to achieving value for money and honouring Australia's international trade obligations.

The government procurement framework will also be strengthened by measures to be announced today by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner.

The stronger industry participation framework will complement the Government's stimulus strategy by targeting the sectors offering the biggest opportunities and the projects most likely to benefit from access to Australian industry capabilities.

These initiatives will maximise the benefits of our stimulus measures through the global recession, while helping build smarter businesses that can generate jobs into the future.


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