May 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The Australian government has introduced an
AUS$34.4 million (£22.5 million) package to help domestic manufacturing firms
benefit from the nation’s mining industry boom.
Announced during this week's budget,
the Buy Australian at Home and Abroad
initiative will include AUS$12.1 million (£7.9 million) funding over four years
to expand the ‘supplier advocates programme’ to promote local firms to buyers
in the mining sector, including the employment of four more staff.
The Australian economy has benefited from the boom
in commodities, which has boosted its mining sector. However, the subsequent strength
of the Australian dollar has made life difficult for the country’s manufacturers
seeking export growth.
The scheme is designed to help address this
problem, in part through procurement. It will spend AUS$4.4 million (£2.9
million) over four years to expand the ‘supplier access to major projects
programme’ which places industry specialists in the procurement teams of some
of Australia's major resources sector companies to ensure the capabilities of
local suppliers are appropriately represented.
The initiative also allocates AUS$2.5 million
(£1.6 million) over four years to establish a ‘resources sector supplier advisory
forum’ comprising representatives from major raw materials companies,
manufacturers, mining technology firms and unions. The goal is to boost the
role of domestic companies in the mining industry.
Wayne Swan, Australia’s deputy prime minister and
treasurer, said: “This package responds to the challenges and opportunities
emerging from the current patchwork economy and the high Australian dollar by
assisting manufacturers to take advantage of new growth prospects.
“This package will help manufacturers to build on
existing skills and identify new supply opportunities in the resources sector.”