Government purchasing nothing to sniff at

A prominent Australian union has called on the Federal Government to support SA’s Kimberly-Clark Millicent workers and purchase tissue paper from Australian suppliers only.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union Manufacturing Division said, with the government spending $8m per year on tissue paper products, the union had written to the South Australian Senator and Federal Minister responsible for government purchasing, Simon Birmingham, calling for the government to purchase exclusively from Australian suppliers.

CFMEU Manufacturing Division’s National Secretary Michael O’Connor, pictured, said the move would support jobs in SA. “After years of lobbying by the union and local industries, recently the Federal Government moved to purchase copy paper from only Australian suppliers,” he said. “The Commonwealth spends more on tissue paper products than copy paper. “The Kimberly-Clark paper mill at Millicent supplies almost a quarter of the nation’s tissue paper.

“It’s an extremely important industry for the state and the country. “This was particularly evident during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when production at the South Australian mill increased to help address national toilet paper shortages when demand boomed and imports collapsed.”

Mr O’Connor commended the Federal Government’s decision to purchase copy paper from only Australian suppliers, which would support jobs and the economy in Gippsland. “There is no reason why the government cannot extend the local purchasing decision to tissue paper and support Australian pulp and paper workers and industries,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said if all three levels of government purchased tissue paper sourced from Australian manufacturers, it would represent a market of over $67m for local manufacturers and help underpin thousands of jobs.

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