ALMOST $4 billion worth of government goods and services will have to be sourced from Australian companies first in a ban on "made in China" products which is to be imposed in tomorrow's State Budget.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal that all NSW Government departments and agencies will be forced to protect Australian jobs by giving preference to locally made products.
This would include stationery, uniforms, cars and even trains and building contracts. And to make local bids more competitive, a 20 per cent discount will be applied to Australian products when comparing the cost with overseas bidders.
The decision is bound to have international ramifications and put NSW Labor at odds with the Rudd Government, which has made no secret of its plan to strengthen ties with China.
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With NSW now recording the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.4 per cent, the protectionist measure will apply to all goods and services not included under existing Free Trade agreements and will be worth almost $4 billion in goods and services supplied to the NSW Government.
But in what may prove an even more controversial move, the Government will also lift the exemptions on goods bound by Free Trade Agreements, by extending current exemptions to companies with 200 or fewer employees to those with 500 employees.
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The policy will be the centrepiece of a jobs package being pinned on a $62 billion capital works program over four years which the Government claimed will support 160,000 jobs.
Following The Daily Telegraph's revelations this year that police and ambulance uniforms were being imported from or made in China, Treasurer Eric Roozendaal will announce a new Government purchasing policy which will give priority to more than 500,000 NSW small and medium-sized businesses.
It will also apply to all future tenders or purchases for Government contracts which will give preference to Australian companies.
"All NSW Government and state-owned corporations (SOCs) are to give preferential treatment to Australian-made goods under the new Local Jobs First plan," Mr Roozendaal said.
"The NSW Government is putting NSW jobs first. Every year, NSW Government agencies spend billions of dollars buying the things they need to deliver services to the people of NSW.
"This plan tips the balance in favour of local businesses, providing them with greater opportunities to expand and sell to government."
The Local Jobs First program has been endorsed by Unions NSW.
It will apply to all Government agencies and SOCs which will now be required to give preferential treatment to local manufacturers under a price preference mechanism.
The Local Jobs First plan will also require tenders of $4 million or more to include an industry participation plan for local jobs and training programs for apprentices. All department heads will have to comply with the policy in performance contracts.