Gov’t procurement policies to boost local manufacturing, job creation

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Image credit: Tyre Stewardship Australia 

Government procurement and a stronger product stewardship approach hold the key to creating hundreds of local jobs, according to Tyre Stewardship Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Lina Goodman.

Speaking at the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Procurement Practices of Government Agencies, Goodman, emphasised the need for government to leverage its procurement power and product stewardship regulation to drive the investment required to create circular economy jobs.

This approach would amplify Australia’s manufacturing sector and stimulate end markets for recycled products, as stated in a news release.

“Without the practical and effective interventions by government of both procurement and product stewardship regulation, many of these markets cannot and will not grow,” Goodman warned.

She highlighted that the markets for recycled tyre products have plateaued and are at risk of failing.

By adopting a product stewardship mindset in procurement, significant positive impacts can be achieved through straightforward changes.

These include mandating the use of crumb rubber in road asphalt, avoiding single-use tyres by supporting retread in government bus fleets and contracts, and purchasing tyres only from brands and retailers that voluntarily participate in Australia’s current product stewardship scheme.

“Progressive countries and governments have used the weight of government procurement and regulation to successfully create jobs and develop markets using recycled materials,” Goodman noted.

Goodman asserted that government procurement and the industry, through Tyre Stewardship Australia, can collaborate to create circular economy jobs that process and re-manufacture products from recycled materials.

She pointed to Canada as a successful example, where government regulation through tyre product stewardship has supported initiatives, incentives, and innovation in manufacturing using recycled materials.

“One Canadian based rubber product manufacturer shared that their revenue increased tenfold as a direct result of government intervention in the form of tyre product stewardship regulation. And in turn, created circular economy jobs, increased the local consumption of used tyre material, and created a thriving product line sold across North America,” Goodman stated.

Goodman said she believes that similar success can be achieved in NSW and across Australia through stronger mandatory government procurement policies that consider the lifecycle and whole-of-life impacts of a tyre rather than just the lowest price, coupled with robust product stewardship regulation.