TFIA CEO, Richard Evans, suggests the first question to answer for any elected government is – do we want a strong TCF industry in Australia? The TCF industry needs an answer to this question to provide operational certainty for a very important industry to the social fabric of many Australian communities.
“The Australian textile industry, historically, has been extremely innovative, creating vast opportunities for many Australians, in particular in regional communities,” Evans said. “The first question for both parties to answer is … do they want a TCF industry in Australia?”
“We would like a newly elected government commitment to a White Paper that is strategically planned for the next twenty years and beyond,” Evans said. “We believe government needs to support the TCF industry beyond selective welfare funding and set job creation policy that can promote and grow an industry that has already done the hard yards of restructure and retains 40,000 employed.”
“There are many reasons why we must sustain a TCF industry in Australia; security for one is a major reason which does not receive much recognition in government policy,” Evans said. “We must maintain our supply chains and reduce exposure to the vagaries of decisions made on our behalf in other markets.”
“We are a now new industry and we need a new government dialogue to support growth,” Evans said. “Do our politicians understand TCF industry needs, and more importantly do they care? If they do care, we would like to see an industry strategy developed that reflects our needs for the future.”
The TFIA have identified the following policy points as important in the development of future industry policy;
Government procurement – taxpayers deserve to know their taxes are supporting Australian jobs; we therefore recommend Government is required to procure from Australian manufacturers first, with a first right of refusal to match the value proposition from international suppliers.
Skills development – we would like to see improved strategy in the development of creative design, trade and artisan skills with further innovative education programs to meet the evolving demand of the industry towards digital production.
Regional jobs are at threat – we would like to see a TCF industry strategy that promotes opportunities for enterprises in the TCF industry in regional Australia to retain jobs.
Reduction in Red Tape – the over regulation of the TCF industry, in particular in the labour market, is profoundly burdensome for the predominantly SME industry and must be reviewed to increase productivity.
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