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How $50 a week can transform Australia

Households spending an extra $50 a week buying Australian-made goods would deliver a $30 billion boost to fuel the nation’s COVID-19 recovery and create tens of thousands of jobs.Australia’s coronavirus recession has caused widespread financial hardship but also helped many people and businesses earn and save more, and economists say diverting some to local products…

Households spending an extra $50 a week buying Australian-made goods would deliver a $30 billion boost to fuel the nation’s COVID-19 recovery and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Australia’s coronavirus recession has caused widespread financial hardship but also helped many people and businesses earn and save more, and economists say diverting some to local products has positive flow-on impacts.

One potential source is the $32 billion Aussies spent on overseas holidays in 2019, before border closures stopped this spending in 2020, and KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne said households had been saving one in every five dollars they earned.

“Buying locally-made provides a broader benefit than just the economic numbers,” he said.

The $30 billion sales boost that would be provided by each household spending an extra $50 weekly on Australian products would result in higher wages, profits and tax revenue, Dr Rynne said.

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Separate economic modelling by analytics group AlphaBeta director Andrew Charlton found a one-off $100 purchase of locally-made products by every Australian would create more than 3000 jobs.

“COVID is an opportunity for Australian consumers to buy local, for Australian businesses to make their supply chains more resilient and sustainable, and for Australian state and federal governments to invest in Australian manufacturing,” Dr Charlton said.

Minister for Industry Karen Andrews said it was Australians’ nature to want to help each other in tough times.

“When you buy Australian Made, you’re not just supporting that manufacturer and its workers but Aussie businesses and workers right along the supply chain – from farmers to truckies to graphic designers,” she said.

“This is not about closing ourselves off to the rest of the world. It’s about providing a solid customer base for our manufacturers, so they can take on the world.”

The Australian Made Campaign says manufacturing now employs 844,000 people, down 50,000 since the start of the pandemic.

“When you buy Australian Made products you are supporting thousands of Australians … from local makers and growers to wholesalers and retailers,” Australian Made CEO Ben Lazzaro said.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says just one job created in manufacturing produces three to four jobs in other parts of the economy, while new Roy Morgan data shows nine out of 10 consumers would prefer to buy products from Australia than other countries.

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said government and industry should take advantage of a new nationalism around manufacturing and re-educate consumers about the benefits of buying Australian products.

“Typically people just shrug their shoulders as they walk through aisles of the supermarket,” he said.

“At the end of the day most Australians are happy to help.”

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.