A union campaign has won a stunning change of Government policy – one that will support 1000 jobs at Gippsland’s largest private sector employer, Opal Australian Paper.
The union for pulp and paper workers, CFMEU Manufacturing, has received confirmation that Government suppliers must now offer only Australian made paper.
It follows the union blowing the whistle on the fact that Australian Government purchasing of Australian made paper plummeted to just 33% last year.
“This is a great victory for our members who have been campaigning for this exact result,” Mr Michael O’Connor, National Secretary, CFMEU Manufacturing, said.
“The change is a big boost to job security at the Maryvale mill and a credit to the unrelenting campaigning and activism of union members.”
Senator Kim Carr in the Senate last year revealed a supplier switched from Australian made to Indonesian made paper.
Following the revelation, hundreds of members wrote to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer and were supported by local MP Darren Chester.
The Department of Finance confirmed the change that now “All paper being offered under the Stationery and Office Supplies arrangement is Australian made”.
“This victory is a lesson in never giving up and working across the Parliament.
“The union thanks in particular Darren Chester (Nationals), Russell Broadbent (Liberal), Rex Patrick (Independent), Kim Carr (Labor) and Raff Ciccone (Labor) for their work.”
The union will continue to scrutinise the Government’s purchasing to make sure this commitment is being met and campaign for all State governments to match the policy.
“The CFMEU Manufacturing Division’s job security campaign is protecting manufacturing jobs by getting Australian and State Governments to buy Australian made paper, building products and textiles, clothing and footwear and tackling cheap imports with Anti-Dumping laws,” concluded Mr O’Connor.