In 2010–11 there were more than $6 billion in private and government grants valued at more than $20 million across the main agencies responsible for awarding large grants. The Government already requires Australian Industry Participation (AIP) Plans for its own major procurements. The changes will now extend the requirement for AIP Plans for federal government grants of $20 million or more and for government grants of $20 million or more to the States and Territories where they do not apply their own industry participation plans.
The Government however does not support proposals for mandatory minimum local content obligations but wants to ensure local suppliers have an opportunity to compete on level terms in bidding for government-supported projects. It will now be a requirement for Australian Industry Participation Plans to be made public for the first time, providing greater transparency. The Enhanced Project By-law Scheme (EPBS) is a tariff concession scheme that provides eligible projects with relief from the five per cent general tariff that applies to imported goods.
To be eligible for this concession, major projects already have to provide Australian Industry Participation plans so Australian businesses can compete for work. The Government will now require project proponents to list additional, more detailed information on opportunities for Australian industry on a public website for EPBS projects greater than $2 billion.
The Australian Government will also ramp up monitoring of the scheme, requiring more comprehensive evidence of the opportunities being made available to Australian industry for all projects under the EPBS. This is expected to create more opportunities for Australian businesses to compete for lucrative contracts in the resources sector and across the economy more generally.
The Government will appoint a working group of stakeholders to advise on the implementation of the above measures, which will be consistent with Australia’s international trade obligations. Membership of the working group will include industry representatives, unions and Commonwealth agencies as well as State and Territory government representatives. The working group will report back to the Government by the end of 2011.
The AIP National Framework encourages Australian, State and Territory governments to adopt a consistent national approach to maximising Australian industry participation in investment projects, in Australia and overseas.
The Government has announced new initiatives to give Australian industry a fair opportunity to compete for work on billions of dollars of funding projects supported by federal government grants.
The working group will advise the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on the implementation of the following measures:
The Working Group will be supported by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and by other Commonwealth agencies as required.
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