Major reforms to Federal Government procurement including a Future Made in Australia Office and opening the door to more contracts for Australian industry could be announced before the end of the year.
Labor’s Buy Australia Plan plans to leverage Government spending with businesses in Australia and maximises home-made products, goods and materials.
Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic told InnovatioAus.com more on the Future Made in Australia Office in would be unveiled in the “next several weeks,” including public consultation on the procurement reforms under the Buy Australia Plan.
“In the coming weeks you will find us releasing more detail about the [Future Made in Australia Office] and engaging in public consultation around that,” Mr Husic told the publication.
“I have said a number of times that I see the value of us being able to reform procurement, to open up contracts to Australian industry as part of a process of strengthening onshore capability.”
Labor says Australian businesses are missing out on billions of dollars of Government contracts which are instead going to international competitors.
“Government spending on contracts is a significant economic driver in Australia, totalling nearly $190 billion over the last three financial years,” the Buy Australia Plan states.
Mr Husic said the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF), the replacement for the Morrison Government’s industry grants programs, will drive capability development.
The NRF finances projects “that diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy.”
$8 billion of the NRF’s $15 billion has been earmarked for the following:
- up to $3 billion for the Powering Australia plan
- $1.5 billion for medical manufacturing
- $1 billion for value-adding in resources
- $1 billion for critical technologies
- $1 billion for advanced manufacturing
- $500 million for value-adding in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and fibre.
Mr Husic told InnovationAus he expected specific industry plans to emerge from the Future Made in Australia (FMIA) Office and alluded to “offshore wind generation projects” especially.
“And if we can get that right, then [those projects]will lead to a lot of work for Australian industry, potentially. And we think those industry plans [from the FMIA Office]can help to better coordinate that work,” he said.
Mr Husic said “a bit of cultural change” might be needed to produce the kind of local industry participation outcomes from procurement reform that the government seeks.
“It is clear that this government has a mandate on procurement reform, that we are wanting to get this done, and that we see a role for it in our broader plans for reinvigorating Australian industry and making sure that we’ve got more onshore capability,” Mr Husic told InnovationAus.com.