The SA Greens will stand firm against attempts by the Liberals and Australian Conservatives to water down the Government’s successful Industry Advocate role when a bill to extend and strengthen the powers of the position comes up for debate in the state’s upper house. The Industry Advocate Bill will formally establish the statutory position to promote the use of South Australian workers and local materials in SA contracts.
Created in 2013, the Office of the Industry Advocate has prompted genuine growth in SA jobs and procurement. The percentage of value of goods and services contracts awarded to South Australian suppliers has risen to more than 90% in the first few years of operation, as compared with 51% in the period prior to the establishment of the role. The increased procurement spending raises the economic contribution to the state by more than $230 million per annum.*
Greens MLC, Tammy Franks stated: "It beggars belief that any SA politician would seek to knobble an agency designed to support local procurement and local jobs, but that is just what the SA Liberal party and Australian Conservatives amendments are set to do.
“The Greens stand for making the most of SA contracts and believe in the requirement to buy local and hire locals. I expect it will come as a surprise to most South Australians that any party in parliament would not do all they can to support that. But in their efforts to weaken this Bill, for what I assume are political reasons, both the Liberals and Conservatives have shown their true colours are not red, blue and gold.
“The Liberals and Conservatives would see the Industry Advocate made into a toothless tiger, when we need a body with the clout to ensure that when a tender is awarded specifying local jobs and suppliers, then that is exactly what happens. If it doesn’t, there should be a penalty paid.
“The $5,000 maximum fine the Australian Conservatives want (down from a quite reasonable $20,000) won’t be a real deterrent. The Liberal’s attempt to hamper the Industry Advocate’s power and ability to investigate and resolve complaints will similarly white ant the whole process.
“The Greens are committed to supporting SA and will stand firm against these bizarre right wing attacks on local jobs and businesses from the Australian Conservatives and the Liberals; they need to stop playing local politics and put local procurement first,” she concluded.
*figures supplied by the Office of the Industry Advocate