Since our newsletter in January (View Article)on reasons to buy Australian made products from Australian owned companies, the arguments for supporting all Australian businesses has become all the more compelling. Not only has there been a simmering trade war, as I write this many Australian institutions have been subjected to cyber attacks. It has highlighted the urgent requirement for us to rebuild capabilities to increase our self sufficiency.
We applaud the Federal Governments (belated) purchase of bulk oil at the all time low price at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to boost our storage capability. Now we just need to work out how to transport the product from the US to Australia and where to keep it.
In 2017, Roy Morgan research found that three quarters of businesses preferred Australian products, but only 26% had any kind of policy in place to put their money where their mouths are. No doubt that has to do in part with the difficulty of verifying where and how much of the product is Australian. “Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients” for example says not much at all. That could mean that the overseas product is placed into an overseas sourced package in Australia. What we should of course do is to mandate that all product and service providers must disclose what percent of products are “Made in Australia” and what percent of their business is “Australian owned”. For RDW, as disclosed in January, that is 70% of our payments (the most reliable indicator), and since 1988 we remain 100% Australian owned. For our industry, that doesn’t make us unique, but it does make us part of a small minority group.
As a starting point though, rather than rely on Governments to regulate, we suggest you take up your own “Buy Australian first” challenge. Imagine if each person changed just $1,000 per year of their purchases away from foreign owned goods and services to Australian ones, we’d boost local business by $25 billion. And if businesses made a conscious effort to say double purchases from their local counterparts, that figure would be multiples higher. That’s a lot of wealth generated for Australia that can then be recycled through our economy.
We have the knowledge and capabilities in Australia to value add to a lot of the products we dig out of the ground. We have many natural advantages (not just minerals, but intelligent people with backgrounds and networks all over the world). Let’s see if together and bit by bit we can start to rebuild our economy after Covid19 to make us sustainable and competitive.
As always, onwards and upwards!