The ASI has welcomed the announcement by the Rudd Government of greater funding and policy support for local content, describing initiatives outlined by Senator Kim Carr in the Boosting Australian industry participation document as sensible steps in the right direction.
ASI Chief Executive, Don McDonald said the greater emphasis on encouraging Australian supply for direct Government procurement and stimulus packages makes immediate sense. “Plans to pursue a national framework for Australian Industry Participation (AIP) especially make a lot of sense,” Mr McDonald said. “There are various State government local content policies that vary considerably and some haven’t been revised for five or six years and were loosely monitored for compliance.” He said that the prescribed tightening of the Tariff Concession System and Enhanced Project Bylaws Scheme was also welcomed. “We have seen these abused in recent times by major project proponents so that is another measure that’s hit the deck none too soon,” he said. “The use of simplified AIP plans adds up as it will help alleviate potential ‘road blocks’ to projects.”
The ASI also applauded plans to appoint industry leaders as Supplier Advocates. “The advocate program is an excellent idea, as it is people who are closest to particular industries who can offer the best advice. Although care should be taken to secure experts from a wide cross section of Australian industry, especially sectors most vulnerable to imports. While the current emphasis is on direct Government procurement and the Government’s stimulus package, we would like to see these measures extended to include all projects where the Government has financial involvement, even a minor one. Examples could be PPPs, major road, rail and port development projects, desalination and power plants, and wind towers where Government has fiscal involvement.
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