Labor stands up for QLD and the Liberal government complains about it - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Labor stands up for QLD and the Liberal government complains about it

Terri Butler MP speaking in the Federation Chamber on 14th August 2017 about Queensland First trade policy.

Read the full speech below. 


Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (11:59): It's quite bewildering to me that we have these Liberal Party MPs coming into this House and actually choosing to oppose a policy setting that puts Queenslanders first. I would've thought they would've wanted to talk about almost anything else except the Buy Queensland policy that the Palaszczuk government has introduced in Queensland. I would've thought they would've been running away from the idea of standing up and opposing Queensland jobs and opposing providing business to Queensland small businesses. Of course, providing additional work for Queensland small businesses and supporting additional Queensland jobs is exactly what the Buy Queensland policy does. We have people on the Labor side standing up for Queensland jobs and Queensland small businesses, and, in pretty staggering display, people on the Liberal and National side are doing the opposite: coming in here and opposing a 'buy Queensland' policy that puts Queensland first. It is just deeply disturbing.

What we have heard from them today is how unhappy New Zealand is about the fact that the Queensland Government Procurement Strategy is going to favour Queensland businesses and Queensland workers. The member for Moreton was right: are we are going to see people wearing All Blacks jerseys in parliament next? I'm happy to wear my Maroons jersey around. You've seen me in it, Madam Deputy Speaker Bird. Being a New South Welshwoman yourself, I know the Maroons jersey is not your immediate choice, but I certainly I love to wear mine—particularly given we won the State of Origin again this year, I might add. Apparently the Liberals think it's a really good idea to be wandering around in All Blacks jerseys, because that is what they are doing now, in a metaphorical sense.

I love New Zealand; I'm a big fan of New Zealand. But I will not criticise the Queensland Labor government for putting Queenslanders first when it comes to procurement policy. When the Premier announced this policy, she said:

From 1 September 2017, the Government’s new Queensland Procurement Strategy will apply whenever your government purchases goods and services, commissions major projects and infrastructure, or builds the schools, housing and other facilities that each of our regional communities need.

This new strategy builds on opportunities to advance Queensland, to seek out opportunities and deliver more for our local regions.

Our new Procurement Strategy will ensure we invest public funds to deliver lasting value.

The Government’s multi-billion-dollar investment in goods and services will be directed to benefiting as many Queensland businesses and workers as possible.

… … …

It will support genuine local jobs, by demonstrating a commitment to those businesses that share our commitment to Queenslanders. It will deliver greater transparency in procurement planning across agencies and it will be backed up by a … compliance and coordination unit. It will put Queenslanders first.

This policy says that from 1 September 2017, the government's procurement policy will define a local supplier as a business that maintains a workforce within a 125-kilometre radius of where goods or workers are needed. That's important because we're not just talking Brisbane-based suppliers when it comes to jobs in North Queensland, Far North Queensland or western Queensland; it is genuinely local suppliers who are based in the local area. If you're a local supplier within that definition, the policy says that you'll get a weighting of up to 30 per cent on any tender that you lodge for a significant procurement. So it's still a competitive process and there's still rigorous testing. It just gives them an opportunity to level the playing field with foreign firms.

The policy will also require at least one local or regional supplier and one other Queensland-based business to be invited to quote or tender for every procurement opportunity offered—a very sensible proposal from this government. For significant infrastructure projects of $100 million or more, the procurement process will require the use of local subcontractors and manufacturers where the local capability and capacity exists. In the situation of significant projects, it will require that 15 per cent or more be expended on apprenticeships, which is up from the current 10 per cent. Importantly, this policy will deliver a more visible pipeline of opportunities for Queensland businesses so they can plan to get together the capability and capacity to deliver projects and to have a competitive opportunity to tender for these projects.

There are plenty of other components to this procurement policy, but all we are hearing from this government and its members in this place are complaints—complaints about the fact that Labor is putting Queenslanders first, complaints about the fact that Labor is standing up for local jobs, complaints about the fact that Labor is standing up for Queensland small businesses. Frankly, it is pretty staggering to see federal MPs from the Liberal and National parties come into this place and argue against Queensland's interests and in support of the interests of other jurisdictions. I think they should all go and take a good hard look at themselves, Madam Deputy Speaker.

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