Australian construction companies receiving grants for large projects will now be required to source Australian-made products.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the decision which has come after significant pressure from industry and union groups.

Laura Evans reports.


Announced at the close of the one-day jobs forum in Canberra, the mandatory use of local products by manufacturing companies has received wide-spread support.

The new measures will apply to projects receiving Federal Government grants of more than $20 million.

The move has been given a resounding thumbs up by union groups who have been demanding action to prevent the loss of jobs to overseas suppliers.

Andrew Dettmar, AMWU: “I think that the announcement by the Prime Minister is a great first step to ensure that local manufacturers and local content, therefore local jobs and local workers get treated properly.”

The initiative has been welcomed by representatives of Australia’s construction sector which has seen a downhill slide in profits.

Matthew Martin-Jones, Australian Industry Group: “This is more about ensuring that businesses are innovative and that they operate efficiently or against other nations and the businesses that are also competing in Australia for that type of work.”

Union workers say the move will put companies in a better position to secure work against off-shore rivals.

Andrew Dettmar, AMWU: “We need to ensure that those local companies are properly geared up to be able to be competitive against overseas contractors. What we want to make is that when they do compete they are not competing with one hand tied behind their back.”

The Buy-Australia policy aims to address the low percentage of local product used in Australian projects.

The new measures will ensure the sustainability of resources, support manufacturers and bring profit back into a struggling Australian Market.

Confronted by the weak Australian dollar Prime Minister Gillard hopes the manufacturing industry will be strengthened by the new policy.

Laura Evans, QUT News.