Australian Owned Contractors Champion Roundtable Reform

Friday, 25th November 2022

The Albanese Government’s Buy Australian Plan is the first step towards creating a civil construction industry where more Australian companies get to build more of the nation’s key infrastructure.

Speaking at the Ministerial Roundtable on Procurement in Canberra today, Australian Owned Contractors Chief Executive Brent Crockford said the Buy Australian Plan could really level the playing field for local companies and build sovereign capability in our local contracting industry.

The Roundtable was an opportunity to discuss the implementation of the Buy Australia Plan, which includes a policy priority to encourage the breaking down of major transport infrastructure projects so more Mid-Tier Aussie contractors can compete as a head contractor.

At the meeting, Mr Crockford reminded Roundtable Co-Chairs (Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher and the Hon Ed Husic MP) that the states and territories also needed to come on board.

He said it was critical for the Albanese Government to use its “purchasing power” to shape the industry and include conditions when funding state and territory infrastructure projects to deliver on its objective of maximising opportunities for Aussie contractors.
“The Buy Australian Plan provides a vehicle for the states and territories to agree to a set of rules that give Aussie companies a fair go on major infrastructure projects,” Mr Crockford said.

“Research shows that when states and territories give Aussie companies a fair go when it comes to bidding more major infrastructure projects – they win more work.

“If the rules are stacked in favour of foreign multinational businesses – like they have been for some time – then Aussie companies don’t get a look in.”

Mr Crockford said there were major benefits of having local companies build the nation’s key infrastructure.
“More money stays in Australia, is re-invested in local businesses, and we build sovereign capability in our local contracting industry,” he said.

“It means more Aussie workers, working for Aussie companies, building Aussie infrastructure. It means more competition for the Australian taxpayer – and the Australian taxpayer supporting Aussie companies, not just foreign multinationals.”

Mr Crockford said AOC was hopeful the Buy Australia Plan could shape lasting reform of the industry.

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