Monday, 26 October 2020
GO LOCAL FIRST Campaign
That this House:
(1) notes the longevity of the 'Australian Made, Australian Grown' logo since its creation more than 30 years ago as Australia's most trusted, recognised and widely used country of origin symbol to promote authentic Australian brands all around the world;
(2) commends the Government for providing the Australian Made Campaign Ltd, the not-for-profit public company which administers the logo, with $5 million to promote the logo in key export markets as well as establishing trademark registration in the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada;
(3) further commends the Government for its $5 million investment in the 'Go Local First' campaign, which is run by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia and is encouraging all Australians to promote and support our local small and family businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic; and
(4) encourages all Australians to recognise the importance of local industry, manufacturers, producers, and businesses to our economy, and the quality of Australian made products and Australian grown produce.
Research conducted in July this year by Roy Morgan showed that 92 per cent of Australians trust the Australian Made logo, 99 per cent of Australians recognise the logo and the logo is used by more than 3,000 companies on thousands of products sold in Australia and around the world.
For 34 years now, the iconic gold-and-green Australian Made kangaroo logo has grown in influence, stature and respect. It is now well and truly etched in our national psyche. Indeed, so loved is this Australian Made logo that, when news reports earlier this year incorrectly reported that it was being replaced, my office was bombarded with calls and emails from constituents preparing their pitchforks! I don't blame them. We are just as proud and protective of the products this logo sits on as we are of the logo itself, and I'm happy to reiterate that the logo is here to stay.
The logo was first introduced by Prime Minister Hawke in 1986, but the promotion of Australian products dates way back before that. In 1961, Sir Robert Menzies launched what colloquially become known as Operation Boomerang. In one of his speeches, Prime Minister Menzies said:
I'm no pessimist about today. I'm the most glorious optimist about tomorrow.
For if there is one thing about which we can all agree it is, with our characteristic modesty, that whatever any other country does, we can do better.
He further stated:
… it is of the first order of national importance that manufacturing in Australia should become international in its product so that it sells to the rest of the world …
This year, 2020, has been an incredibly challenging year for many, and yet, even in the moments of uncertainty and fear, we have seen the optimism Menzies referred to on display all around Australia. We've seen the strength and ingenuity of our manufacturers, small businesses and primary producers as they responded swiftly to support Australians. Once again we have seen what 'Australian Made, Australian Grown' means—businesses like the Wine Thief in Wembley, in my electorate, who make their own Rottnest Island Gin; or Advanced Technology & Manufacturing in Osborne Park, who for over 25 years have been manufacturing printed circuit boards for projects around Australia.
Just as Menzies and Hawke recognised that the future prosperity of Australian manufacturing and produce depended on increasing exports opportunities, the Morrison government understands that the Buy Australia message and logo is not simply a call to protectionist notions but, most importantly, a message to the world about the quality of the things that we make here. That's why, earlier this year, the government provided a $5 million grant to the Australian Made Campaign Ltd to increase and extend the impact of the Australian Made logo into new markets and to allow the trademark to be registered in the EU, the UK and Canada. I would encourage all Australian businesses, manufacturers and producers to look into registration with the Australian Made campaign and get the many benefits that go with being an authorised user of the 'Australian Made, Australian Grown' logo.
Alongside the longstanding 'Australian Made, Australian Grown' campaign, this year the government also launched the GO LOCAL FIRST campaign to remind us all of the vitality and the importance of small and family businesses to our economy and to our local communities. This campaign, funded by the government with a $5 million grant, is being run by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia and is helping to highlight the stories of the 3.5 million Australian businesses, encouraging us all to back our local businesses first.
In Curtin there are close to 25,000 small and family businesses, and this year I've been amazed by their resilience. Earlier this year, when many of them had to close or change their operations drastically, they were blunt about the difficulties facing them, but they also adapted and reminded everyone in Curtin of just how central they are to our community. During restrictions, especially when older people were self-isolating, great businesses like the Cambridge Corner Store and the Village Pantry offered support with free deliveries. Our local IGAs did the same, and helped work with my office to get deliveries to constituents. These great businesses in Curtin—we see their names on the backs of community sporting teams' jumpers—are the people who employ young people in our community. Whoever they are, wherever they are, we know how important they are. So everybody: 'Go Local First', buy Australian made and continue to be optimistic about tomorrow.
I, too, rise in this chamber to support the 'Australian Made, Australian Grown' logo—the green and gold kangaroo—and I applaud the longevity and pride Australia has shown through this iconic symbol since its creation, as we've heard, more than 30 years ago. As has just been illustrated by the member for Curtin, the logo is 'Australia's most trusted, recognised and widely used country-of-origin symbol, which promotes authentic Australian brands all around the world'. As we've heard, during COVID-19, our manufacturing sector has taken a hit and has been completely under attack, with a new paradigm for how manufacturing and advanced manufacturing will occur in this country. Whilst COVID-19 has shown the deficiencies in many of our systems, it has been remarkable to witness the manufacturing sector unite, become resilient and turn the corner.
Australia, as we know, is in a deep and painful recession. Nearly a million Australians are unemployed, and 400,000 Australians will join them by Christmas. The government has just released a budget that leaves more Australians behind, instead of investing in social housing, child care and supporting our university students. With this motion, we're talking about a logo that apparently is staying, but, back in July, the government spent $10 million creating a new Australian logo. What happened to that in the speech today? I completely missed that in the member for Curtin's speech. Here's a tip through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the member for Curtin. When the minister's office rings you and asks you to put up motions such as this, don't. When you get the speaking notes from the minister's office, don't read them. You are being put in a position. You're the sacrificial lamb today, through you Mr Deputy Speaker. You're the person who is arguing in an alternative universe.
Let's wind back the clock a little bit. We're in the middle of a deep recession. We're in the middle of a pandemic. This government thinks it's wise to spend $10 million on a brand new logo. Let's look at the commentary around this from members of the government at the time. Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has weighed in on the decision to sideline the iconic Australian Made logo, calling the move a dippy idea and likening its replacement to 'a cross between the coronavirus and bird poo'. That is from a former deputy prime minister of Australia. Mr Joyce said in this place that the 'splotch of brilliance' cost the nation $10 million. Unsurprisingly, people who have been made aware of this believe our marketers have left the train station called 'Whoopee'. Don't take my word for it; that is from members of the government. When the member for Curtin comes up here, that's what they think of her motion today.
There's other commentary I want to talk about of how we got this new logo in the first place. I did a bit of research into this. There is something called the National Brand Advisory Council, which is signed off by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. The NBAC is made up of national business leaders, including mining billionaires and beer barons, and then it all made sense. Who do you think is on this brand commission that allowed us to waste $10 million? Are you ready for it? We know this person has completely outrageous and outlandish taste.
Hence we got to the position today with none other than the CEO of Australia Post, Christine Holgate. What a surprise! The CEO of Australia Post came up with the wacky idea to spend $10 million on a brand new logo that nobody wants and that the government is now not going to use. Can you believe it? Is it bad enough that, in this economic recession that the Morrison government has delivered, where we're seeing complete wastes of money, complete abuses of power, we're now expected to debate a motion in this House ignoring the fact that this government wasted $10 million. Well, I'm calling it out today to the member for Curtin. Don't bring rubbish motions into this parliament, talking about logos that your government has completely wasted. You ought to be ashamed of yourself—through you, Mr Deputy Speaker—that this parliament stands by and doesn't condemn the outrageous abuse of $10 million on an Australian logo that this government simply is not going to use. They're going to waste money and waste time rather than actually, as we heard yesterday from the minister, supporting the manufacturing sector in this country. I say shame on the government. They ought to do better for manufacturing in country. (Time expired)
It is an amazing opportunity to be in this place to represent an area of Australia that produces so many Australian-made products. The Goulburn Valley is one of, if not the most, eminent regions for food and produce from our farming sector through to our transport sector, our packaging sector and our manufacturing sector. Every day our people of Australia take advantage of the Australian-made products that are on our shelves, and they are supported incredibly well. So, for the Australian government and for Ms Hammond here to be putting forward a motion highlighting the need for us to get behind the Australian Made program is something that's very important. Throughout the Goulburn Valley we've always had SPC and Campbell's soups lead the way, but in the last couple of decades those iconic companies have been joined by Kyvalley, Consolidated Milk, Bega, Unilever, Freedom Foods, Saputo—and on and on it goes. So we've been very lucky in one sense, because with these companies and with this Australian-made ethic also comes tens of thousands of jobs and we should be very conscious of just how important these facilities are.
We were recently talking through some industry forums about how important it is to support these Australian-made products and Australian companies even though some of them have foreign ownership, but the way that they operate within the regions means they are very much local companies. What's the best thing we can do to support some of these Australian companies? It is a question that we continually put back to our people, and they say, 'The best thing you can do to help us is to look after our farmers, to look after our water policy.' It's incredible how important it is. It's all linked. Agriculture is linked to our food production. Food production is linked to retail and what we can do to our engineering sector and manufacturing sector. It all comes back to how we support agriculture and how we support agriculture with water security.
I know everybody in the Goulburn Valley is now aware of this little company called Med-Con, who were one of Australia's only producers of PPE. During the pandemic it's been a great story the way the ADF and the federal government have got behind Med-Con to ramp up their production so they're now producing tens of millions of masks as opposed to the fraction of that which was their traditional throughput at their site.
In my opinion and from what I hear to push for, we need to get on board and push this sentiment of Australian Made. We need to education our younger generation about the importance of getting behind Australian Made every day. On the shelves of our supermarkets Australians have the choice. They have a choice in what's cheapest, and sometimes the difference is half the price. The best example, I suppose, is tinned Italian tomatoes. You can get them for half price if you want to go down that path, but there's always an Australian option right next door—an Australian-grown, Australian-made, Australian produced tin of canned tomatoes right next door.
We need to educate our next generation coming through, our next generation of consumers, about the importance of 'Australian made'. Whether we do it via a new logo or an old logo, whether we do it by advertising campaigns—irrespective of how we do it—the concept of 'Australian made' is absolutely critical, because the need for us to support our own has never been more important; it is absolutely crucial to the future of this country that we be the generation that takes the Australian Made movement forward. It really is critical in this region. We've got thousands of businesses that are universally recognised as having the connection to Australian Made. We need to support them into the future like never before. We need to increase the impact of these trusted, iconic— (Time expired)
I'm really pleased to speak today in favour of the Australian Made logo. But it's more than that, isn't it? It's standing to speak in support of, and to promote, Australian made: Australian manufacturers, Australian workers, Australian businesses.
The member for Curtin, who put this motion forward, noted that the Australian Made logo, the iconic kangaroo, was introduced by the Hawke government. Of course, for many decades Bob Hawke really was the 'Australian made' logo. You saw Bob Hawke and you knew that he was a Prime Minister and a man who was all about Australia and Australian made. You certainly didn't look at Bob Hawke and think about money being spent on spin and advertising and trying to sell the idea of doing something for the Australian people. He was about doing something for the Australian people.
It is extraordinary that this motion is being put up at a time when the government have just tried to change the Australian Made logo. They tried to change it from the iconic kangaroo, about which almost 100 per cent of Australians say they know what it means and associate it not just with something being made in Australia but with absolute quality, into a logo that, for whatever reason, looks like a coronavirus. Not only did the government try to change the logo into a gold, sparkly coronavirus, which perhaps 12 months ago we might have thought was pretty but which now we think is contagious; they spent $10 million doing it. How do you spend $10 million getting a new design in the first place, and then how do you find a design that you have to walk away from—or not really walk away from but run backwards from—when you put it out and everyone says: 'What are you talking about? It's a coronavirus, not the iconic logo.' It's interesting to note, of course, that this coronavirus Australian logo was produced, at a cost of $10 million, and walked away from at a time when the Prime Minister has said, 'There can't be any consultation or work on an integrity commission because not one single public servant will be taken away from working on COVID!' That is except for the ones who've worked on the $10 million new logo that no-one likes and that doesn't do its job.
That's not a manufacturing policy and it's certainly not an Australian Made logo. To appropriate possibly the best-known Australian-made phrase of the 20th century: 'That's not a manufacturing plan; this is a manufacturing plan.' It is what the Leader of the Opposition and Labor have been saying about a future made in Australia: don't spend money on logos, spin and advertising; actually have a plan, a coordinated strategy, across the areas that are needed to bolster Australian manufacturing. Have a jobs and skills plan. Have an actual plan for investing in industries. Do things like rewire the electricity grid so that there is transmission of energy in the 21st century and beyond from Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower and so that there are jobs. Do the work with industry to deliver support.
We heard yesterday from the minister herself that, from the so-called $1.5 billion manufacturing plan of this government that is supposed to be delivering economic stimulus to help us get out of this recession, $40 million is anticipated to be spent in this financial year. By the way, that is less than what was in the budget papers. So already they've reduced what was in the budget papers. It's $10 million on a logo and $40 million on supporting manufacturing and Australian jobs through a recession. There's just something not right. Let's just hope we don't get another four silly logos. That is right. Absolutely, the Australian Made logo is iconic and we know that Australian manufacturers can be and are second to none in innovation and smarts, but they need more than a government that says. 'Let's spend money on advertising and let's put motions forward in the parliament.' They need a government that has a manufacturing plan and has workers' backs.
I want to thank the member for Curtin for bringing this motion to the House. I am a strong supporter of the Australian Made logo and the benefit it brings to local Aussie made products. The green-and-gold kangaroo created 30 years ago has become one of Australia's most trusted and widely recognised symbols. It sends a message to the world that the product carrying that logo is reliable and of the highest quality. I want to commend the Morrison government for backing this truly iconic and integral Australian symbol. With an investment of $5 million, the mark of true Australian quality can be more effectively marketed abroad and ensures our trademarks will be protected internationally. Thanks to the Morrison government, the green-and-gold kangaroo logo is here to stay. We can rest easy knowing that Aussie made products will proudly carry the logo long into the future.
As many of us know, the Australian Made logo has a significant effect on the success of our products overseas, but I would like to take a moment to reflect on the efforts of the Morrison government in promoting Australian made products right here at home. The GO LOCAL FIRST campaign, run by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, has been an incredible success. It has encouraged Australians to buy from their fellow Australians. More than six million Australians are employed by local businesses, and this campaign has helped each and every one of them by encouraging Australians to buy local at a time when our small businesses need it the most. The Morrison government's investment of $5 million has paid off. Each time a dollar is spent in our local businesses it's another win for Australians. I want all Australians to know the importance of our local industry—manufacturers, producers and businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and it's imperative that they are recognised across the globe for the quality of the products they consistently deliver.
The Morrison government has backed and will always back Australians. Our commitment of $1.5 billion to the Modern Manufacturing Strategy will support growth in the manufacturing sector, helping to secure our success and a swift economic recovery. As a government, we are focused on creating jobs. Every day my constituents tell me their grave concern for the future of their jobs. In these turbulent times, I can understand their fears. But I am grateful that I can look the people I represent in the eye and say, 'The Morrison government is delivering job security for all Australians.' This government will focus on six national manufacturing priorities where we can achieve scale and growth. These priorities are: resources, technology and critical minerals processing; food and beverage; medical products; recycling and clean energy; defence; and space. In these sectors, we have a comparative advantage and have the capacity to harness emerging opportunities whilst addressing our strategic needs.
The Morrison government should be commended for its unwavering commitment to Aussie businesses, Aussie manufacturing and Aussie produce. Whether it is through targeted investment like the GO LOCAL FIRST campaign or visionary policy like the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, our commitment to Australian Made stands. And the reason we are so committed is so simple: it is jobs. A coalition government is always focused on creating jobs.
It's very true that this year has been like no other. The trials we have experienced over the last year have taught us many things, but one of the most fantastic things to come out of it is our community spirit and our resolve to support each other. COVID-19 has impacted on local industry, local businesses and local jobs like never before. But, in my electorate on the New South Wales South Coast, our industry had already suffered multiple hits, even before the pandemic had hit our shores.
Our local economy is structured around the tourism industry. Many local businesses do a year's worth of trade over the summer, taking full advantage of the many people who come to our towns and villages to enjoy our beautiful beaches, our beautiful food and wine, and our beautiful people. Shops employ extra workers, many of whom are young people needing that summer income to get them through the rest of the year. But last year we didn't have a summer—we didn't get our summer trade; we didn't have our summer boost—because last summer much of the South Coast was on fire. We had to turn tourists away, declaring a no-go zone in the Shoalhaven and the Eurobodalla, with knock-on impacts in areas like Kiama. It was tough times, and businesses suffered immensely. So I like to think that the South Coast had a little something to do with the start of GO LOCAL FIRST campaign. We were, after all, the ones who needed it first.
Immediately after the bushfires, one of the first campaigns to start was Love the Bay BB, encouraging people to come back to Bateman's Bay. There was Rejuvenate in the Shoalhaven, Holiday Here This Year, Spend Here This Year, and Empty Esky. Kiama and District Business Chamber started the Buy Local Campaign on 1 July, with the slogan 'Think, Shop & Buy Local'. They had prizes and incentives for businesses and patrons alike to join in. Councils, business chambers, tourism bodies, local media outlets and the local businesses themselves came together to encourage people to spend local, buy local and support local businesses to get back on their feet. Even the local newspaper got involved, with the Bay Post Moruya Examiner running a Think Local, Support Local feature in July and August. This feature showcased local businesses, gave them the chance to tell their story, from the bushfires to the floods and COVID, and encouraged everyone to think about supporting local businesses first. It was wonderful. In those weeks and months immediately after the bushfires, I visited hundreds of local businesses, trying to do my bit to 'spend here this year', buying local produce and showing my support for businesses doing it tough. It was wonderful to see people from near and far just coming into our towns to buy something and show their support. It was giving businesses the lift they needed, a bit of encouragement to just keep going, even when everything felt so tough.
During the bushfires, it was local businesses that were there for us, taking people in and making sure displaced people had food and shelter. Now was our turn to say thanks and give back. I did the same again when restrictions began to ease following the coronavirus outbreak, popping in to see how people were doing. The local butcher in Gainsborough told me how his business had been booming; people had started shopping in their local butchery again. The local fudge shop in Mogo told me that people had come from Sydney and Wollongong just to buy something in their store and show their support. I heard so many fantastic stories.
Supporting local businesses means supporting local jobs and making sure the South Coast remains the most beautiful place to live, work and visit. I am proud to be part of this amazing community. I am proud to have supported all of our various 'shop local' efforts. It has been humbling and awe-inspiring to be part of a community so committed to helping each other. We have been through so much, but we have made it through because we are strongest when we stand together. We are by no means out of the woods. Many of the activities, festivals and celebrations we had planned, to get our community back on its feet, have sadly had to be cancelled because of COVID restrictions. Luckily, many of our local markets have now started up again, giving local growers, producers and sellers a chance to showcase their wares. The time to think local and shop local is still now. Support local businesses, support local jobs and shop local today.
I rise to celebrate the green and gold symbol that proudly remains our trusted symbol around the world for products made in Australia. The Morrison government has committed $5 million over the next four years to expand its reach overseas. The Australian Made logo has never been more important. It's globally recognised and is associated with quality, reliability and sustainability. The Australian Made and Australian Grown logos, since their creation more than 30 years ago, are Australia's most trusted, recognised and widely used country-of-origin symbols to promote authentic Australian brands all around the world, with almost 99 per cent of all Australians recognising the logo.
Our products are globally respected and loved, but, as we chart our economic recovery, it's so important that Australians buy Australian products. In June, Australian Made reported that monthly licence applications have increased fivefold and new licences issued have doubled. There's also significant media coverage and social media coverage. This is all very welcome, and that's because a recent KPMG study found that households spending an extra $50 a week, buying Australian-made goods, would deliver a $30 billion boost to fuel the nation's COVID-19 recovery and create tens of thousands of jobs. Separate economic modelling by analytics group AlphaBeta's director, Andrew Charlton, found a one-off $100 purchase of locally made products by every Australian would create more than 3,000 jobs.
There's never been a more important time to buy Australian made, in the midst of the COVID recovery. The Morrison government has also invested $5 million in the GO LOCAL FIRST campaign, which is run by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, COSBOA. This campaign encourages all Australians to promote and support our local small and family businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. In my electorate of Higgin, I'm pleased to say that many of our businesses have pivoted to deal with COVID. Local cafes and restaurants are now delivering takeaway. There is now grocery shopping at the Prahran Market using a COVID-safe approach. People can buy books via Click & Collect at the Malvern bookstore and even get their bike serviced at the Cycleinn in Malvern.
But our businesses in Victoria are suffering because of the persistent lockdown in Victoria. Despite the fact that Premier Daniel Andrews's target for a rolling average of less than five has already been reached, for some inexplicable reason he has failed to open our state economy up again. This is having an incredible impost on local businesses in my electorate of Higgins. As an example, Lisa Barron the fashion designer has had her doors closed. She's been very, very thankful and grateful for the use of JobKeeper, but she's had to pivot to doing things differently. She has done that willingly, but it is time to open back up our economy. We have achieved suppression of the virus in the state of Victoria, but now is the time to have the confidence to open Victoria back up again.
We are going to have to live with COVID for a very long time. We know that a vaccine may come. We hope that it will be safe and effective and be ready soon, but it's not likely to be here in the next few months and we can't stay in lockdown for all of those months. I encourage the Premier to look to the confidence of his contact tracing to open up the Victorian economy. It would mean that our Victorians could get back to work and could get back to buying into the economy, which would help the businesses of Higgins and the businesses of Victoria.
By going local first, you'll ensure that the money spent in our local economies keeps businesses afloat and supports local jobs and families. This would fuel our economy and drive our recovery from the COVID recession. These can be from purchases—small and large—to lunches with friends or a new outfit or even home renovations. Look for a local business or local tradie, and, importantly, look for the Australian Made logo. It is about Australian businesses getting back off their knees as they've had to deal with an incredible 2020.
I know all Australians understand that business is the backbone of our economy. We need to make sure that we focus our renewed spending efforts on buying local and buying Australian. I encourage all Australians and those in Victoria to go local first, to think local and shop local, because, when you spend local, it stays local.
Thank you, Deputy Speaker. Finally the government is recognising the importance of Australian manufacturing. We can and should be a country that makes things, absolutely. The importance of a strong manufacturing sector is actually the Labor Party's DNA. We know it creates jobs and builds our economy. Yet, under this coalition government's watch we have seen the sector contracting by their own hand. Effectively, they booted car manufacturing out of this country.
Frankly, as much as this motion is well intentioned, it is this government's track record which is abysmal when it comes to Australian Made and Australian manufacturing. No amount of smoke and mirrors or marketing sleight of hand—or even muting me surreptitiously—will actually fool the punters into thinking that this government supports manufacturing. The recent budget manufacturing announcement made by the government was all photo op and no follow-up.
The coalition government has spent seven years attacking and undermining Australian manufacturing, and now they really want us to believe that they support it. It shouldn't take a pandemic and a recession for the Morrison government to start talking about the importance of manufacturing in Australia. Manufacturing has been declining for years, aided and abetted by the coalition's policies over the past seven years. The decline has been very much felt in my electorate of Wills, in the north-west of Melbourne, particularly with the loss of the Ford factory in Broadmeadows back in 2016—just outside of my electorate.
Meanwhile, you've had COVID-19, with a devastating impact own local employment, and now Australia is reliant on offshore manufacturing, which has really put supply chains at risk. We need to take this opportunity to create new jobs in my electorate of Wills and across Australia. We must get Wills back to work and we must get the rest of Australia back to work, and a strong manufacturing sector can do just that. If we get it right a strong manufacturing sector can deliver world-class products, incorporate the best technologies and provide good, secure jobs that our workers need and deserve.
Australians know Labor will actually bring manufacturing back home. Labor's national rail manufacturing plan, announced by the Labor leader in his budget reply, is a fantastic and a substantive start. Our country has the skills and the know-how. We just need a government that not only has a plan to do it but actually believes in it. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to rebuild the economy and move Australia forward. I want to see a future made in Australia.
We can absolutely do more to promote and celebrate things that are made in Australia. In building our manufacturing capabilities we must also promote and support our local, small- and medium -sized family businesses, many of which are local manufacturers. In my electorate of Wills there are 295 manufacturing businesses spanning from coffee makers and operations to vibrant breweries and contemporary furniture design. The north of Melbourne has a very strong legacy of manufacturing with over 98 businesses being in operation for 30 years or more, that's a lot of corporate knowledge and a lot of history. Forty-one of these businesses are family owned. I have met with many of them, including Silver Lynx Furniture, who expressed to me the difficulties they are having competing with cheaper overseas imports in the furniture business.
Small businesses and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our economy. They contribute a third of our economic activity. They keep millions of Australians in jobs and are responsible for paying the wages of more than half of our entire workforce. It's time for the government to step up with genuine support for local manufacturing, not just talk—talk is cheap. We want real, substantive policies that invest in the opportunities that are there. Genuine support for local, small- and medium -sized businesses is what is going to get this economic recovery going, not just more marketing spin.
Labor has a genuine plan—if we were to win government—to bring manufacturing jobs back home. We've got substance to our plans. We will actually make a difference by investing in manufacturing and opportunities for people in all sectors to get a job and by bringing those jobs back home. Labor's plan is substantive. It's real. It's ready to go. I will applaud this motion— (Time expired)
The member for Wills seems to have been frozen in time. His time has ended in any case. I apologise for whatever technology has caused that. Our video system seems to have collapsed under the weight of that powerful address. The time allocated for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting day.