Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has called on the Victorian Premier to put his money where his mouth is and commit to a government procurement policy favouring Victorian-grown and processed food, such as SPC products.
Ms Lovell said the Premier has been talking up a recent government purchase order of trains that are being built in Ballarat, saying he is using taxpayer money to keep jobs in the state and that the state is buying local to keep the benefits of spending local.
“The Premier’s line of using taxpayer money to keep jobs in the state is just empty rhetoric unless he makes commitments to ‘buy local’ across many more industries than just rail rolling stock producers in Ballarat,” Ms Lovell said.
“The Premier needs to give Victorian famers and food processors, such as SPC, the same commitment as he gave to Ballarat to keep jobs local for the rest of Victoria, and implement a whole-of-government procurement policy for Victorian-grown and processed food.”
Ms Lovell said that so far the Victorian Government has failed to commit to such a policy, even though this explicit request has been put to the Minister for Agriculture in the past fortnight.
“During her tour of SPC, the Agriculture Minister was asked if the government would consider using its large buying power for things like food supply in hospitals, and she would not give a guarantee,” Ms Lovell said.
Ms Lovell will raise the matter in state parliament next week, and will call on the Premier to back his own statements about buying local and make an immediate commitment to developing a government procurement policy that would see only Victorian-grown and processed food purchased by the public sector, including for public hospitals and health care services, schools, prisons and government departments and agencies.