The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is launching a campaign in the coming weeks that will highlight the importance of supporting locally made paper products, according to a media release.
At the same time the Union is also challenging Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to follow through with his pronouncement that Australia has a “big future” under his government. The Union is calling for immediate action from the PM to address the failed paper procurement policies laid out by the Federal Government, which according to CFMEU are currently discriminating against local producers.
“This week the Prime Minister said that he believed he had a responsibility to diversify the economy by ‘ensuring that we are doing whatever we can to boost our manufacturing,’” says CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor.
“Paper procurement policy is his first chance to walk the walk on this pledge. If the Federal Government wants to get on with the job of supporting Australian manufacturing and supporting Australian jobs it can be as simple as ensuring they buy more locally made paper and paper products.”
As part of its ‘Let’s Spread It Around’ Campaign CFMEU will release an advertisement via billboard, post cards and bus stop advertising containing the message “Don’t shred pulp and paper jobs. Buying Australian paper means Australian jobs.”
Last week the Union sponsored a petition which was signed by thousands of pulp and paper workers and members of their communities, urging the Federal Government to commit to buying more paper and paper products manufactured in Australia.
The Government is the biggest purchaser of paper in Australia but according to CFMEU the current procurement system discriminates against local manufacturers.
“The Prime Minister needs to end this absurd situation which is continuing to cost Australian jobs and instead put into place practices which support local manufacturing workers,” says Mr. O’Connor, who also chairs the Federal Government’s Pulp and Paper Advisory Group.
Several incidents have been uncovered during an investigation made by CFMEU into the procurement practices of the Government, among them the Department of Human Services rejecting a quote for Australian made envelopes despite being less than 1 per cent more expensive than imported alternatives.
Another incident discovered were the false and misleading information given to MP’s by the Department of Finance regarding Australian made paper, with the effect of advocating alternative supplies from Germany, Austria, South Africa and China.