Freight Rail, Passenger Rail, Rail Supply

‘No local jobs, no contract’: Shorten takes jobs drive to Maryborough

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has visited the Downer rail workshops in Maryborough on his election campaign this week, to launch Labor’s ‘Local Projects, Local Jobs’ plan to boost local manufacturing.

Citing billions of dollars spent by the Federal Government each year on infrastructure, energy and resource projects around Australia, Shorten said a Labor Government will ensure major contracts support local industries and jobs.

“Maryborough and the train workshops here have been building trains and manufacturing for 170 years, and I have a vision of Australia that we will be a country that will keep manufacturing for a long time into the future,” Shorten said.

“I have a vision that Australian parents can tell their kids they can get an apprenticeship, because Federal Labor – if we win the next election – is going to back Australian made, and Australian manufacturing.”

Accompanied by former industry minister Senator Kim Carr, and Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm, the Opposition leader – currently favoured by bookies to be the next prime minister – criticised a marketplace for government work which he says currently locks out local businesses, where multinationals bring in their own suppliers.

He said Labor believes local small and medium businesses can do the job competitively.

“Australia should be a manufacturing powerhouse,” he said.

“One of the best tools we’ve got at our disposal is to use the power of the Commonwealth expenditure to back local. Specifically, our proposition – our policy – is as simple as this: No local jobs, no contract.

“Labor’s new national procurement policy is going to put local jobs and local businesses at the centre of all Commonwealth expenditure decisions when it comes to contracting between the Commonwealth and Australian enterprise.”

Under the three-point plan, local businesses would be given better access to government contracts, all public and large private projects would be required to give Australian firms a proper chance to win major work, and all major projects would require a stronger apprenticeship and training component.