As we near the end of the year, I have been reflecting on the work of the Office since I was appointed to the role of Local Jobs First Commissioner at the end of January 2022.
I have greatly enjoyed meeting with our many key stakeholders over that period. Our team in the Office of the Local Jobs First Commissioner is also very much looking forward to moving more regularly from online meetings to meetings held in person in the New Year.
In our meetings with stakeholders, it has been invaluable to promote and hear of the many opportunities to maximise local content and jobs in Victorian government procurement. The realisation of these opportunities through the delivery of Local Jobs First Policy aims to strengthen local industry productivity and economic participation through the creation of local jobs, including the employment of local apprentices, trainees, and cadets.
A significant number of large Victorian government projects in construction, transport, manufacturing, and services are currently underway. There are over 180 Strategic Projects, each valued at over $50 million under the remit of the Office, with a total project value of approximately $80 billion.
A key focus for my office is to encourage government agencies to consider whether their engagement model with contractors in Local Jobs First Projects is suitable for the current environment of supply chain and labour market challenges. It is pleasing that this strengthened focus on project governance is delivering some good outcomes for agencies and contractors in providing greater clarity, transparency and robust systems for early warning of issues, and enabling compliance.
Since December 2021 under Ministerial direction, my role has also had a secondary advocacy function in relation to other Victorian government procurement policies, the Social Procurement Framework (SPF) and the Fair Jobs Code (FJC). To this end, during the year my Office has also sought to leverage our networks and activities relevant to Local Jobs First to raise the profile of the SPF and the FJC. The purpose of the SPF policy is to deliver fair, inclusive and sustainable outcomes, and for the FJC (which took effect from 1 December 2022) to seek to recognise and reward businesses which treat their workers fairly.
In addition to our stakeholder engagement and advocacy work, our team in the Local Jobs First Office also supports the successful operation of the Local Jobs First Policy by performing our regulatory functions, including investigating complaints and auditing the delivery of Local Jobs First Projects.
I look forward to continuing to lead the work of our Office in engagement, advocacy, compliance, and regulation of the Local Jobs First Policy, enabling growth in the capacity, capability and productivity of local industry, and supporting the delivery of economic and social benefits for Victorians.