The Liberals have revealed that they are a ‘do nothing’ government when it comes to using the $57 billion spent on Commonwealth procurement to create local jobs.
Answers to questions on notice from Senate Estimates shows that the numbers of Australian Industry Participation (AIP) plans approved by the Government have plummeted, from 97 in 2012 to zero in 2016.
When asked about the AIP plans in Question Time today, the Minister had no awareness of the program’s plunging levels of support for Australian jobs.
AIP policies were put in place by previous governments and strengthened by Labor to ensure full, fair and reasonable opportunity for Australian industry to compete for work on major public and private projects.
As part of these requirements, companies bidding for Commonwealth funded projects worth over $20 million may have to implement an AIP plan and engage with local small and medium sized suppliers when spending government dollars.
The value of Commonwealth procurement contracts in 2015-16 was worth $57 billion, yet in the absence of AIP plans it is impossible to know whether any of these taxpayer-funded projects sought to maximise the number of local jobs.
Intelligent purchasing stimulates investment. It sustains industries. It nurtures innovative SMEs and fosters a competitive economy. It creates jobs.
It beggars belief that the Commonwealth is not ensuring that taxpayer money spent on Government projects is being used to provide full, fair and reasonable opportunities for Australian industry.
The Liberals may be big on the rhetoric, but when the rubber hits the road they have very little care and no real plan for jobs.