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AFC Submission Into NSW Government Procurement Inquiry

NSW Government procurement can yield long-term economic benefits, such as job creation, increased taxable income, higher skilled occupations, reinvestment in technology and R & D, and overall industry growth.

by Sarah McLean

21 June 2024

The AFC were invited to make a submission for the inquiry on procurement practices of government agencies in NSW and its impact on social development, chaired by the Hon. Dr Sarah Kaine, MLC.

We believe prioritising local procurement can yield long-term economic benefits, such as job creation, increased taxable income, higher skilled occupations, reinvestment in technology and R&D, and overall industry growth. Our NSW sector is valued at $9.7 billion and employs 174,000 workers, so the potential is enormous!

Imagine the impact if government uniform contracts prioritised local manufacturers—long-term, high-volume contracts can drive innovation and capacity building. There are also positive social and environmental impacts for the NSW community such as better labour conditions, circular economy practice and end-of-life solutions, as well as upskilling the industry workforce. 

READ OUR AFC SUBMISSION TO THE NSW PARLIAMENT INQUIRY HERE

AFC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NSW GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT POLICIES

  1. Set Local Content Targets
  • Establish targets for local content in government uniform and PPE contracts with annual performance reporting.
  1. Compensate Higher-Cost Bids with Broader Benefits
  • Include mechanisms to compensate or prefer higher-cost bids offering broader economic and social benefits.
  1. Develop Environmental and Social Frameworks
  • Create an environmental framework for TCF sourcing that promotes circular design principles and the use of Australian-grown wool, cotton, and recycled fibres.
  • Implement a social framework ensuring accreditation requirements do not create barriers for local manufacturers and encourage partnerships with social enterprises.
  1. Increase Transparency and Support for SMEs
  • Enhance transparency and support for SMEs in the procurement process, including shorter contract negotiations, tender briefings, and promoting local manufacturing capabilities.

BENEFITS FOR INDUSTRY

  1. Labour Conditions: Engaging with local manufacturers increases visibility over the supply chain, reducing the risk of labour exploitation. Accreditation requirements should be achievable for local manufacturers without creating barriers to entry.
  2. End-of-Life Clothing Solutions: Investing in circular economy practices and transitioning to sustainable materials, such as Australian-grown wool and cotton, can reduce the environmental impact of uniforms.
  3. Upskilling the Industry: Long-term government contracts can provide the confidence needed for local manufacturers to invest in staff training, new machinery, and overall capability building.

CASE STUDIES HIGHLIGHTING SUCCESS AND POTENTIAL

The Social Outfit and Workwear Group Collaboration

  • In early 2023, The Social Outfit, a Sydney-based social enterprise, collaborated with Workwear Group to produce 2000 scarves and pocket squares for Westpac's uniforms. This partnership provided increased work hours and upskilling for The Social Outfit’s employees, demonstrating the positive social impact of local procurement.

Citizen Wolf and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

  • In July 2023, Citizen Wolf contracted to supply custom-fit uniforms for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, using 100% Australian cotton. This initiative supports local farmers and promotes sustainable practices.

The AFC urges the NSW government to implement these recommendations to reinvigorate local clothing manufacturing, create a network of NSW TCF suppliers, and develop a comprehensive procurement policy that benefits the entire state.

NEXT STEPS:

  1. Fund a comprehensive report to quantify the NSW TCF manufacturing industry.
  2. Establish a procurement policy for uniforms and protective equipment with local content targets.
  3. Increase transparency and support measures for SMEs in procurement processes.
  4. Implement environmental and social frameworks specific to TCF sourcing.
  5. Encourage industry participation and build awareness of Australian manufacturing capabilities.

These steps will ensure the NSW government supports a vibrant, sustainable, and economically beneficial TCF industry.

READ OUR AFC SUBMISSION TO THE NSW PARLIAMENT INQUIRY HERE

 

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