Supporting local businesses and workers in the difficult environment we are currently experiencing is a key focus for the Local Jobs First Commissioner and the team.

Whilst not being able to meet face-to-face, the Commissioner has continued to consult with multiple sectoral groups across the supply chain as well as major contractors in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

Through these discussions, a common theme identified across all sectoral groups was the issue of the substitution of Victorian products with offshore products on large-scale projects, particularly furniture fixtures and equipment.

However, during these unprecedented times, we are seeing a significant shift towards the use of local products and services, particularly in the construction sector.

One of the many reasons for this is the disruptions COVID-19 has caused to the supply chain impacting the supply of products from offshore.

With Victoria’s extensive manufacturing capability, this shift towards using locally manufactured products being utilised on construction and infrastructure projects should not only be leveraged during these difficult times but well into the future. The ongoing investment in Victoria’s local industry will enable the continued growth of their capabilities and capacity.

It is important to acknowledge that the use of locally manufactured goods and services not only benefits and assists local businesses, it also helps keep jobs in Victoria providing ongoing benefits to our economy.

Other insights that have emerged due to the disruption of the supply chain and the increased use of local products are that in many cases local products are price competitive with offshore products. Furthermore, the ease of dealing with customer service is enhanced, in turn making adjustments to products and product specifications easier to achieve with ongoing service arrangements more cost-effective.

The positive impacts and experience of dealing with local businesses has encouraged many builders to now source locally manufactured products instead of offshore products. It has also led several companies to further investigate their own supply chain to identify areas where offshore products can be substituted with local products.

Don Matthews, Local Jobs First Commissioner said: “It is now more important than ever that we all do our bit to support Victoria’s local industry by using Victorian-made goods and services where applicable. We all have a responsibility to support Victoria’s local industry and workers.”

The Commissioner will continue to work with agencies, contractors and local industry to support and advocate for the use of local suppliers – creating a robust and resilient local supply chain.

In a time where we are faced with economic challenges, we must continue to support and provide opportunities for Victoria’s local industry in government procurement, whilst showcasing the great products and manufacturing capabilities of our state.