A Shorten Labor Government will boost local jobs by ensuring more government contracts and major projects are delivered by local businesses, bringing significant economic benefit to communities in Queensland and around Australia.
Under a Labor Government’s Local Projects, Local Jobs plan, more government investment will be spent on local businesses and local jobs – not multinationals that don’t care about locals and don’t pay tax in Australia.
The Federal Government spends $50 billion every year on goods and services – how the government spends that money, how it contracts and who it contracts matters.
Billions more are spent on infrastructure, energy and resource projects around Australia. Locals are locked out of work as multinationals bring in their own suppliers.
Labor believes that if local small and medium businesses can do the job competitively, then the job should be done locally.
If bidders on large government contracts can’t show how they’ll support competitive local business and local jobs, then they shouldn’t be getting contracts. It’s simple - no local jobs, no contract.
Local companies – those based in the town, city and region where the government is spending funds, should get better access to contracts so they can employ local people.
While value for money for the taxpayer will continue to be paramount, a Shorten Labor Government will put greater emphasis on buying local, employing locals and supporting economic activity in our regions. This is consistent with our international agreements.
Labor’s three-point plan for Local Projects, Local Jobs includes:
1. Better access to government contracts for local businesses
- Labor will require government departments work with local firms to ensure they can benefit from government contracts, and properly consider the economic benefit that local businesses provide. Value for money will be the key criteria.
- For projects over $10 million Labor will require bidders to develop a Plan for Local Jobs to support jobs in the regions that projects are undertaken.
- Successful bidders will be required to nominate an on-the-ground contact to engage with local small and medium businesses to raise awareness of upcoming tender and subcontracting opportunities.
- Companies will also have to undertake local labour-market testing for any new employees required for the project, to ensure temporary work visa holders are not undercutting local wages.
- Officials will be required to consider relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of the procurement, including commitment to local or regional markets and a more competitive supplier base.
2. Supporting local business at home and abroad
- Labor will ensure that more public and large private projects will be required to put plans in place to give Australian firms a chance to win work on major projects.
- On public projects these plans will be required to be considered as part of the project development and tender – not after a contract has been granted.
- Projects over $250 million will have to ensure that local firms are provided with a fair opportunity to win work and not be excluded. These projects will be required to put an Australian Industry Participation plan in place, opening up access to new opportunities including in mining, rail, road and energy.
- Labor will back local businesses by working with industry groups to make our businesses stronger, and able to win contracts at home and abroad. We will appoint supplier advocates in key sectors like rail and steel to open up new opportunities for jobs. Labor will work with a revamped enterprise connect, industry capability network and have strong anti-dumping measures to keep Australian firms strong.
- Just like our international athletes compete with the support of the Australian government, our local businesses should be able to rely on the same support.
3. More local apprentices and boosting local TAFEs
- The Liberals have cut TAFE and apprenticeships – we have 130,000 fewer apprentices and trainees since the Liberals came to office.
- Labor will require one in 10 workers on major projects to be apprentices from the local area to ensure we are giving young locals the chance to learn the skills they need for a job, and help older workers retrain for new jobs.
- This commitment is in addition to Labor’s existing commitments on TAFE – including scrapping upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students, and establishing the $100 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund for necessary upgrades and improvements to Australia’s TAFEs.
This announcement is all about supporting local businesses and local jobs. Labor understands the power of government procurement and major projects to deliver economic benefits for communities outside the major capital cities.
As part of our plan for Local Jobs, Local Projects a Shorten Labor government will deliver for our regions, and deliver jobs for Australians.