The Office of the Local Jobs First Commissioner continues its focus on the different sectoral groups across the local industry.

Earlier this year a roundtable for the textile, clothing and footwear industry (TCF) was held with over twenty Victorian businesses from the sector participating.

The roundtable enabled Victorian local businesses to share their thoughts and concerns regarding procurement in the TCF sector and some of the longer-term issues that confront the sector.

The roundtable was addressed by several people including Don Matthews (Local Jobs First Commissioner, Nanette Fitzgerald (Executive Director, Industry Development and Participation, Jobs, Innovation & Business Engagement, DJPR), Angela Krepcick (Regional Director, Victorian Government Business Office, DJPR), Roy Bird (Uniforms & PPE Monitor, Department of Treasury & Finance),  Jenny Kruschel (Textile Clothing & Footwear National Secretary, CFMMEU Manufacturing Division ) highlighting both the challenges and opportunities for the sector moving forward.

A robust and interactive discussion, the roundtable not only showcased the outstanding capabilities, talents and passion across Victoria’s TCF sector, it also reiterated the support from government agencies in retaining and creating local manufacturing jobs in Victoria.

The Local Jobs First Act requires all agencies buy locally manufactured uniforms and PPE where applicable, further supporting the TCF sector in its ability to be sustainable for years to come.

Local businesses across the TCF sectors also highlighted their ongoing commitment and the importance of obtaining Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accreditation.

ECA accreditation not only supports Victorian businesses in the TCF sector it also ensures that workers in the sector are being paid appropriately and working in safe conditions throughout the entire supply chain.

The TCF supply chain is one that is complex and diverse, spanning a rich variety of businesses and products, from high-end fashion to socks and PPE.

Whilst there is a variety of issues facing the sector one that is of importance is the growing costs associated with business management.

Increased business costs, including utility price increases are having an impact across the sector. This combined with labour on costs is putting a significant strain on local businesses being able to manage the existing financial burdens of running a business.

We can all do our bit to support the TCF sector, by ensuring we purchase locally manufactured clothing, footwear, uniforms and PPE where possible.

Whilst the roundtable highlighted the different issues associated with the TCF sector it also enabled a platform to bring together key stakeholders and create opportunities for cross-collaboration.

The Local Jobs First policy is not only providing opportunities for local businesses to partake in government procurement but is also facilitating new opportunities for different layers and businesses across the sectors to work together as was evident in the TCF roundtable.

Better communication across the supply chain and local business provides a stronger voice for the different sectors, whilst enabling greater opportunities in government procurement, as well as providing ongoing opportunities to learn new skills and work towards mutual goals within specific sectoral groups.

Many of the local businesses present at the roundtable expressed their gratitude for having a platform to work together and collaborate with fellow local businesses within the same sector to deliver on large-scale government projects.

Local Jobs First Commissioner, Don Matthews said: “Discussions across the different sectors is enabling us to better understand the various issues faced by local industry. The TCF roundtable enabled us to gain a better understanding of the issues facing this sector. We will continue to focus on and work with different sectoral groups moving into the new year.”

The Local Jobs First Commissioner and Office are committed to working together with the local industry to support the delivery of the Local Jobs First policy while providing ongoing opportunities in government procurement.

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