It has been over a month since Gippsland Coalition MPs said they were campaigning to convince their colleagues that the Government should be buying Australian made paper, but in that time they have achieved nothing.  

Instead, the Turnbull Coalition Government has continued its refusal to extend the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sustainability Plan beyond 2015, which could have disastrous effects for Australian paper industry and jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

Shadow Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr said there is no excuse for the Government to not buy Australian made when a local manufacturer provides the best value for money, which is certainly the case with Australian Paper’s investment at Maryvale. 

“The Australian Government is the biggest purchaser of goods and services and it has an obligation to ensure that, where possible, the goods it purchases are sourced locally,” Senator Kim Carr said. 

Labor candidate for McMillan, Chris Buckingham said Australian Paper is the biggest private employer in the Latrobe Valley and the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s refusal to renew the ICT Sustainability Plan risks the jobs of 1000 workers directly employed at the Maryvale facility, with a further 6000 flow-on jobs at risk throughout the supply chain.

“It was the Labor Government that established the ICT Sustainability Plan and ensured that government procurement policies were designed to strengthen Australian industry and create Australian jobs like we have at Maryvale,” Chris Buckingham said. 

Labor reaffirmed its position to buying Australian made when it passed its National Platform in July this year. The platform states that government procurement policies should consider whole-of-life costs, rather than purchases prices alone.

It also states that governments should take into account the direct and indirect economic benefits of buying locally when making purchasing decisions – such as industrial capabilities and employment opportunities.

The Coalition may have changed the Prime Minster, but Australia still has a government that would rather see manufacturing jobs shipped offshore than commitment to Australian jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

Australian Paper invested in the Maryvale de-inking and recycling facility on the basis of the commitments from Government.

The Abbott/Turnbull Government’s refusal to extend the plan beyond 2015 sends all the wrong signals to companies wanting to invest in Australia.

The ICT Sustainability Plan and the commitments to government procurement of recycled paper must be extended – not thrown out with the rubbish.

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