For decades now we have enjoyed a strong trade relationship with our Asian neighbours. In fact, since 1980, more than 50 per cent of Australian imports have come from Asia.
As a small-business owner, I get it. Businesses choose to import products, it’s not just about cost savings; in most cases, local producers simply cannot match the low prices offered by overseas counterparts.
Although, the reality is that many imported products are often inferior and made in unregulated overseas markets or in factories that can be a hub for illegal labour activities.
For example, did you know that unregulated overseas markets are the biggest perpetrators when it comes to the resale of banned and recalled items? According to a recent article in consumer magazine Choice, almost 50 per cent of banned toys were available to purchase online from overseas markets.
As business owners, it’s our responsibility to educate our customers on the importance of buying local. Safety, quality, and industry procedures are just a few of the reasons why it’s crucial to support local businesses.
Moreover, buying local supports the local economy by creating job opportunities and contributing to the growth of the community.
When I first started my career in cardboard packaging, I turned to cheap foreign imports as I believed that was my only option. However, after experiencing several challenges, such as language barriers and fluctuating exchange rates, I realized that there must be a better way.
I decided to start my own business and create my own cardboard boxes, which ignited my passion for manufacturing and producing goods in Australia.
What does it mean to be “Australian Made”?
According to Australian Consumer Law, a product labelled as “Australian Made” has undergone substantial transformation in Australia, meaning that the end product is different from the sum of its imported parts. This definition includes any production process that has taken place in Australia, even if the product includes imported parts.
Australia has stringent quality assurance standards that ensure the products produced here are not harmful to consumers’ health and well-being. Australian Made is an assurance of quality, which is more important than price. What may seem like a bargain is not always so cheap when considering the exchange rate, freight, shipping, and logistics headaches.
By supporting local, Australian-made products, we can ensure that we are investing in high-quality goods that are made with ethical labour practices and meet the required safety standards.
Staying Local = Local Jobs
Local manufacturing requires both skilled and unskilled labor, providing job opportunities as well as on-the-job training and upskilling opportunities. Supporting local industry leads to a cycle of prosperity that builds the local economy and reduces the need for national or international shipping, contributing to a greener, cleaner supply chain.
As small-business owners, it’s essential to remind our government representatives that we are the backbone of Australia.
Together we can educate our communities that a short-term bargain isn’t going to sustain the long-term health of our Australian economy.