*Speech delivered 8th March 2023
The Labor Government says they have a commitment to Australian manufacturing and making things here.
The former Liberal Government said the same thing.
Well, I have to ask how that’s going after a recent decision from the Department of Defence.
They’ve given a tender to create ration packs for the Australian Defence Force to a New Zealand company.
It was a contract worth $259 million. And we’ve sent that money across the ditch instead of investing it here.
The Defence Minister says that because of our economic relations treaty with New Zealand, they have to treat New Zealand companies as Australian companies for tenders.
I’m all for being friendly with our kiwi neighbours, but to be honest, that doesn’t really make any sense.
Why would we send $259 million of your taxpayer money to New Zealand when it could be spent on Aussie companies? It could be invested here in Aussie jobs.
It might have been fine back in the 80s, but we saw what happened during the pandemic. We know that we need to shore up sovereign control of foreign supply chains.
We’ve got businesses in our own backyard that can do this. And I know where I’d prefer my money to go.
A Tassie company was part of a group who put their hand up for the job.
I visited Forager Foods at their factory last year, and talked with them about what this could mean for their company. The kind of job opportunities it would create for Tasmanians.
I’m completely gutted for them. I'm gutted for the Tassie farmers who have lost a market selling food for our soldiers.
This contract would have invested $12 - $15million per year into Tasmania.
The ‘make things here in Australia’ line is a great slogan for Governments to bring out at election time, but I’m not seeing it backed up by decisions made by bureaucrats in the Canberra bubble.
For companies like Forager Foods in Tassie, this decision could have made all the difference.
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