Steel Industry Protection Bill
Adjourned debate on second reading
(Continued from 22 June 2016)
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 20:03 :23 ): I want to thank the Hon. Mark Parnell for this bill. I have spoken before about the government's unwillingness to support local South Australian businesses when awarding tenders. I understand that the economic benefits of awarding a tender to a South Australian business is very rarely, if ever, considered when these decisions are made. We have seen this on multiple occasions, but I especially remember the effect that awarding the whole‑of-government stationery contract to a large multinational had on South Australian businesses.
We saw local companies having to let people go and face closure because of the government's knee-jerk reaction to the actions of the small group of individuals. I understand that prior to winning the tender for the whole-of-government stationery contract the multinational company opened a local distribution centre in South Australia to demonstrate their commitment to assisting with local employment; however, shortly after winning the tender, all local operations were wound up and all stationery is now being shipped from interstate.
There has been no real benefit to the local economy and employment, and it is little wonder that we now have the highest unemployment in the country, given that our own government does not want to support our own businesses. I always find it curious that the government goes to some length to promote our products overseas, and are the first to blow the trumpet if a South Australian company is successful interstate or overseas. However, when it comes to what really matters, that is, supporting the businesses, they are nowhere to be seen.
I appreciate what the Hon. Mark Parnell is trying to do with this bill, but I cannot support it. It is not because I do not agree with the idea, but rather it is because I am concerned about the implications it may have. If this bill is passed, other countries and states may retaliate by refusing to purchase South Australian goods. Instead, I hope this bill is used as an impetus to the government to look at doing things differently, and to have a wider scope of considerations when it comes to awarding tenders.