The Local Jobs First Commissioner and Office have had a strong focus on working with the different sectoral groups throughout the year and will continue to look at ways to collaborate and advocate on behalf of the local industry in the new year.

Earlier this year, a steel roundtable was held by government to better understand the issues facing the steel industry. Following on from this roundtable, the Commissioner most recently held a workshop for the steel fabrication sector with representatives from across the sector participating. This included large-scale steel manufacturers and the Australian Steel Institute.

In an informative, engaging, and productive discussion, a number of issues facing the steel fabricators were identified by the various representatives in the workshop.

These issues were positioned around two key objectives; how could access to government procurement be improved and how can communication between the sector, contractors and agencies be better facilitated and improved, which would result in increased use of local steel in government projects.

To achieve such an outcome, the Office of the Local Jobs First Commissioner will work in collaboration with the steel fabrication sector to focus on the following – tendering processes regarding the capabilities and capacity of the sector, the collaboration of fabricators in bidding for large steel packages, mandating of standards and certification to ensure quality in the sector is maintained whilst promoting the capacity and capabilities of local fabricators.

Whilst there is still a lot of work to be done to support the sector, it was encouraging to see the passion and commitment from participants working together to identify the challenges and look at new initiatives to deal with the challenges they face.

The Local Jobs First policy is not only creating opportunities in government procurement but also continuing to bring together different SMEs across the sectors as evident with the steel industry roundtables and subsequent workshops, providing greater opportunities for collaboration.

Local Jobs First Commissioner, Don Matthews said: “Engaging with SMEs from specific sectors has enabled us to improve dialogue with the various sectors, whilst having a better and more detailed understanding of the ongoing issues and concerns facing Victoria’s local industry.”

The SMEs who participated in the various meetings throughout the year including the steel roundtable have all expressed their appreciation for being able to come together and have a platform to openly share their concerns whilst gaining a better understanding of government procurement.

As an advocate for the local industry, the office is open for collaboration. If you would like to contact us, you can do so here.