Labor reveals new ‘buy Australian' policy pillar for looming election

Anthony Albanese has pledged a “buy Australian” plan as Labor begins to roll out more policies ahead of the next election.

Under the opposition’s plan, new laws will lock the government into using more Australian-made goods, products and materials through Commonwealth contracts.

Mr Albanese said it was time the government started following the same “buy local” approach that everyday Australians had embraced.

“Australians do their best to patronise local businesses, knowing our hard earned money supports the wages of our friends, neighbours and local community,” he said on Saturday.

“Governments should recognise this principle in its own purchases and activities.”

Labor reveals new ‘buy Australian’ policy pillar for looming election

Camera IconAnthony Albanese said the government needed to start following the same ‘buy local’ approach embraced by everyday Australians. Source: Labor Party. Credit: Supplied

Under a Labor government, a new office would promote purchasing opportunities to smaller business and regional communities.

In the 2019-20 financial year, just a quarter of Commonwealth contracts were awarded to small and medium sized businesses.

Mr Albanese’s plan would also see state, territory and local governments forced to break up large infrastructure contracts to allow smaller Australian business to bid on the projects.

“Under the Buy Australian Act maximising the benefit of government purchases to Australia will be the law of the land,” Mr Albanese said.

Labor’s focus on increasing Australia’s domestic capabilities reflects a simplified policy approach heading into the 2022 election.

After Bill Shorten lost in 2019, Labor’s campaign platform was criticised for being overloaded and unfocused.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $1.5 billion plan to build on Australia's domestic manufacturing capabilities.

“It will play to Australia’s strengths, improve collaboration and commercialisation, and create a sector that is modern, dynamic and highly skilled,” Mr Morrison said

Bur Mr Albanese said the government needed to do more to support domestic enterprises.

“The way in which governments use their purchasing power reflects how they view the Government’s role in shaping the economy,” he said.

“Labor will maximise small business participation in Commonwealth procurement.”

Mr Albanese’s plan also includes a secure jobs code, greater surveillance on the domestic tax payments of large companies, and further investment in Australia’s Defence industries and capability.

“Together these plans will ensure that Australia’s capacity to manufacture essential goods … is increased and that we are more resilient,” he said.

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