Governments must 'buy local first' even if 'it costs a bit more'

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COVID has shown Australia just "how vulnerable we are" relying on the rest of the world to make what we need, says the Executive Director of the McKell Institute Victoria, Ryan Batchelor.

"This pandemic shut down global supply chains and left governments scrambling to fill them," he said.

"Too much of our essential equipment comes from overseas and we really should be making more of it right here.

"We're one of the smartest countries in the world, with highly trained, adaptable skilled workforce.

"And yet there are things Australian lives depend on that we can't produce ourselves.

"We need to do better. Not just talk about being the best, but actually be the best."

Mr Batchelor said Australia needs a serious plan for local manufacturing and "key to that plan is a promise from our governments to buy local first, even if it costs a little bit more.

"If our post-COVID recovery is going to make us a stronger nation, we need to invest in local industry, support local businesses, and to make more things in Australia.

"That means our biggest buyers - Commonwealth, state, and local governments – need to change the attitudes they've held for decades, and buy local first, even if it's not the cheapest."
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