Ridout welcomes ‘level playing field’ for industry


The Australian Industry Group has welcomed new measures announced at the Federal Government’s recent Jobs Forum designed to ease the pressure on Australian industry.

"The announcement of a Prime Minister's taskforce to specifically address the key issues facing manufacturing in Australia is a positive step and recognises the significant pressures the sector is currently experiencing, said AiGroup Chief Executive Heather Ridout. 

“Additionally, the measures around procurement and skills will see Australian manufacturing compete on a more level playing field.”

The Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Government’s new package is designed to create more opportunities for Australian businesses to compete for work – including lucrative contracts in the resources sector.

Specifically, the Government will:

• Make major federal grants of $20 million or more, including grants to the States and Territories, contingent on maximising opportunities for Australian businesses.
• Require future project developers to publish more extensive details on opportunities available to Australian businesses if they want to receive a five per cent tariff exemption on imports for major projects through the Enhanced Project By-law Scheme (EPBS).

This means Australian industry will get a fair opportunity to compete for work on billions of dollars of projects supported by federal grants.

The Government will appoint a working group of stakeholders to advise on the implementation of the above measures, which will be consistent with Australia’s international trade obligations.

Membership of the working group will include industry representatives, unions and Commonwealth agencies as well as State and Territory government representatives.

It is expected the working group will report back to the Government by the end of 2011.

Ms Ridout said the new measures reflect a number of key principles proposed by Ai Group to lift Australian industry participation in procurement for major government and private sector projects.

"While there is no silver bullet to fix all the issues and all the pressures bearing down on manufacturing, over time these measures should contribute to building a more productive and competitive manufacturing sector," Ms Ridout said.

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