Victoria puts local businesses first

| July 10, 2018

The Andrews Government has proposed new laws to the State Parliament that will prioritise local workers and businesses for sub-contracting work on major Victorian projects.

Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll at Melbourne Park to announce the Victorian Local Jobs First Bill, which will mandate minimum local content on major projects, including a 90 per cent minimum on construction projects. It also mandates the use of local apprentices, trainees and cadets.

The Bill comes in response to the Premier’s Job Summit in 2017, and enshrines the Labor Government’s flagship local jobs policies – the Victorian Industry Participation Policy and the Major Projects Skills Guarantee – in law.

The legislation also establishes the Local Jobs First Commissioner, who will advocate for businesses and workers so they get a greater share of government projects, and oversee compliance of local content and workforce commitments.

The Bill builds on the Government’s reforms to industry participation including reducing the Strategic Projects threshold from $100 million to $50 million. The Labor Government has already set local content requirements for 88 strategic projects, including level crossing removals, compared to just eight set under the Liberals.

In addition, there will be a new requirement on all government agencies to buy local uniforms and locally-manufactured personal protective equipment – such as high-vis vests, hard hats and safety goggles – where possible, instead of importing gear from overseas.

Stage three of the Melbourne Park redevelopment will include at least 90 per cent local content for the entire works package – including design services, early works, redevelopment activities and tennis courts.

The highly successful Major Project Skills Guarantee has helped close to 1,000 apprentices, trainees and engineering cadets get a start in their careers, completing 775,000 labour hours in 31 projects.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 includes $5 million to create a new Office of Industry Participation and Jobs to support the delivery of the local content and Major Project Skills Guarantee policies, including strengthened compliance activities including an audit of major projects to make sure local content requirements are being met.

Premier Daniel Andrews  said “We’re making sure every Victorian benefits from our record investment in infrastructure.”

“Our multibillion dollar pipeline of projects is already creating tens of thousands of jobs for Victorians and opportunities for local suppliers.”

State Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll underlined that “We’re already giving local workers and businesses every chance to supply our major projects – this Bill takes it further and makes it the law.”

“No other jurisdiction in Australia sets mandatory targets in legislation – by doing so we’re at the forefront of industry participation – creating thousands of jobs for Victorians and supporting local businesses and industry.”

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