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AFC's Pre-Budget Submission to Treasury for 2024-25

Investing in the Australian Fashion and Textile Industry

by Sarah McLean

14 February 2024

The Australian Fashion and Textile Industry is facing both significant opportunities and challenges. Inflationary pressures, shortages of skilled workers and materials, and the imperative need for sustainable business models are key issues demanding attention.

This year, the AFC’s Pre Budget Submission outlines our request for a $10 million investment in the Australian Fashion and Textile Industry. This investment aims to:

  • Create new jobs and business opportunities consistent with the drive towards a thriving society and economy as we transition to Net Zero by 2050;
  • Tackle the revival of our local manufacturing sector and advance its capabilities by accelerating the adoption of innovation and technology, building a resilient and responsive supply chain in the process; and
  • Address current industry skills gaps and workforce shortages by creating aligned education and career pathways for Australia’s future workforce, especially for women.

The submission highlights the pivotal role of the Fashion and Textile Industry as a primary employer, particularly for women and migrants, making a substantial $27.2 billion contribution to Australia's economy. 

It delineates the industry's challenges, encompassing shifts in retail landscapes, inflationary pressures, and the transformative effects of technological advancements on jobs and skilled workers.

Following our last budget submission, the AFC successfully launched the design and roadmap for Seamless, a national clothing product stewardship scheme aimed at transforming how clothing is made, used, reused and recycled in Australia. The effectiveness of initiatives, like Seamless, demonstrates the efficient use of funding.

In the current economic climate and amidst the cost-of-living crisis, job creation is crucial. Our industry sustains over 489,000 jobs, with a significant number held by individuals from migrant communities, and supports over 376,000 women, contributing to their economic security and Australia's productivity

Recommendations

The investment request to tackle these challenges comprises three key priorities:

Priority 1: Build sovereign manufacturing capability of ‘Fibre and its Derivatives’ (from fibre to yarn, textiles to fashion and uniforms, etc) to boost jobs, the economy, exports and close the supply chain loop.

Priority 2: Develop skills and career pathways – to address current and future skills needs, create jobs, and boost the economic security of the industry’s women-empowered workforce.

Priority 3: Promote the Australian Fashion trademark to grow domestic and global demand for design-led brands committed to responsible practice, to be known for creative sustainable, and innovative design, making Australia an attractive tourist destination for its fashion culture.

Industry Advocacy

In the lead-up to the 2024-25 Federal Budget, we are now calling for expressions of interest from members who would like to play an active role in our advocacy efforts, from media opportunities to government engagement, social media, and more. 

Read the complete Pre-Budget Submission here, and if you're interested in participating, reach out via email at info@ausfashioncouncil.com.

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