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AWU welcomes NSW Labor’s pledge to prioritise local manufacturing

June 23, 2022

The AWU welcomes NSW Labor’s pledge to create a jobs revival by prioritising local manufacturing and boosting government procurement rules if elected next March.

In his rely to the Liberal Government’s state budget, Labor Leader Chris Minns said a government he led would set local-content targets, increase tender weightings and set up a new commission to back manufacturers.

Mr Minns said that in the past decade under the Liberals, NSW had lost 42,000 manufacturing jobs, while Queensland had gained 6000.

“What’s more, we’ve missed out on 4000 more jobs due to offshoring of major infrastructure and transport projects as a result of decisions by the NSW Liberals,” he said.

“This has to stop. We can’t rebuild an entire sector overnight – but we have to start somewhere.”

AWU NSW Secretary Tony Callinan said that with a state election just eight months away the Liberal Government was probably hoping electors would forget it had spent a decade selling out local manufacturers.

“We’ve seen thousands of NSW manufacturing jobs lost due to a decade of Liberal cost-cutting and awarding contracts to companies that source bottom-dollar materials from overseas,” Mr Callinan said.

“We’ve had intercity trains made in Korea, not NSW, that are too wide and long for our platforms, and which are now sitting idle in sheds due to huge design flaws.

“Sydney’s Spanish built trams have been suspended for months due to extensive cracking.

“And we have Indonesian-built harbour ferries that can’t fit under some bridges, are riddled with asbestos, can’t operate at night, and stall when put into emergency reverse.

“All these would have been better built here, building jobs, skills and the local economy.”

Under its plans NSW Labor will:

  • Set a 50 per cent minimum local content target for future railway rolling-stock contacts.
  • Increase tender weightings to 30 per cent, capturing local content, job creation, small business, and ethical supply chains.
  • Set up a NSW Jobs First Commission, an independent, expert body, to oversee the implementation and growth of local industries, supporting and advocating for local firms in bidding for government tenders.
  • Collaborate with industry and local government to make the government’s demand pipeline as easy as possible for local suppliers.
  • Address the skills gap with TAFE manufacturing centres of excellence, starting with Western Sydney, the Hunter, and the Illawarra.

Mr Callinan said the public wanted governments to be proactive in supporting Australian manufacturing jobs.

“Manufacturing jobs are generally jobs that you can support a household with, the types of jobs AWU members rely on to feed their families,” Mr Callinan says.

“If you have a job in manufacturing it’s far more likely to be full-time than if you work in most other sectors.

“The AWU is looking forward to NSW Labor’s changes, which would boost jobs and bolster the NSW economy, particularly in regions such as the Hunter and the Illawarra.”

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