The Australian Furniture Association (AFA) has welcomed the recent spend by Western Australia's Parliamentary Speaker Michael Sutherland on Australian made furniture.
Mr Sutherland recently spent almost $27,000 on Australian made furniture including a table, 12 chairs and lounge for his office.
According to Australian Furniture Association CEO Patrizia Torelli, Mr Sutherland’s decision reflects the AFA’s recent demand for greater support from all governments in relation to procurement of Australian products and services, much the same way their international trading partners support their own industry sectors.
Ms Torelli said the AFA recently made the submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee Inquiry: Commonwealth Procurement Procedures to argue the case to increase the current ratio of Australian goods and services versus imported goods and services.
Expressing AFA’s strong views on the issues of procurement, Ms Torelli said Australian business should have full and fair access to supply goods and services required by the Government and for all major projects undertaken across the country; however currently Australian manufacturers are often overlooked.
AFA recommends that a holistic approach should be adopted with regard to the procurement of such goods. As outlined in the 2012 Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs), achieving value for money is the core requirement of procuring officers. The AFA believes emphasis should be placed on value for money over the entire life of the product, as opposed to only the initial upfront costs. Local manufacturers are able to provide higher quality products, as well as maintenance and through-life support, which their international counterparts are unable to offer.
AFA encourages an awareness raising campaign with government procurement officers and departments, which highlights the full capabilities of Australian manufacturers, and would willingly work cooperatively with government agencies to develop the necessary information campaigns for purchasing and procurement officers (public and private) to ensure that the true costs and benefits of using Australian or imported product is understood and implemented.
In choosing to procure furniture from Australian businesses, the Government can ensure: The continued growth of the Australian economy through the provision of opportunities to lift domestic output and incomes; Assist with making Australian furniture the first choice in local and global markets; Timber used in all wood and wood based items has been sourced legally; Environmental impacts are appropriately managed during manufacturing process; The potential for using renewable and recycled components is maximised; Hazardous substances will be eliminated from the furniture production process; Employees are treated fairly; and, Ethical sourcing of raw materials.