Australia could kick start its post-Covid economy with 53,000 new jobs simply by ensuring new infrastructure is built with Australian manufactured products, like Australian steel, according to the Australian Workers’ Union.
AWU economists estimate that ensuring 90 per cent of the steel, aluminium, glass, cement and other heavy manufacturing items used on major government projects was Australian would pump $3.5 billion into the economy and create some 53,000 jobs.
AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton is calling on all Australian governments to commit to procuring Australian steel and other products for upcoming infrastructure builds.
“Government is now set to stimulate the economy by spending huge money on infrastructure. We need to make sure we get a double bite at the economic cherry and back Australian jobs,” Mr Walton said.
“Australians make high quality products and we do so efficiently. But unlike other countries, we don’t make any special efforts to back our own.
“If we do that we actually strengthen our sovereign capability, that is our capacity to stand on our own two feet and produce what we need domestically.
“We should maintain cordial trade relations with China, but we shouldn’t rely on Beijing for things we could be producing for ourselves. Covid has shown supply chains are unreliable when nations are competing against each other.
“We keep getting the situation where some anonymous number cruncher in the public service identifies a one dollar saving from buying Chinese steel and, as a result, 53,000 Australians miss out on jobs and billions in investment. It’s madness.
“We have the capacity in this country to produce most of the steel, aluminium, cement, and glass we need to build our own infrastructure. We just need government to back Australians.
“Manufacturing happens in our regions and in our suburbs – the areas that are crying out for quality blue collar jobs.
“Our leaders should be telling the petty bean counters to take a break, we’ll be backing local jobs from here on in. The fact is that most of the costs savings are illusions anyway once you take quality and reliability into account.”