Benalla Regional Victoria Manufacturing

Ryan pushes bold plan to grow local manufacturing

20 August 2021

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan is calling on the Andrews Government to establish a $1 billion fund to support Victorian manufacturers and to help local industry grow and expand.

The Nationals have raised concerns that the Andrews Government has set purchasing policies which is prioritising cheap imports over locally made goods.

At D & R Henderson in Benalla today, Ms Ryan said Labor needed to do more to support local manufacturing in order to support local jobs.

“It is concerning that the Andrews Government doesn’t have a plan to get us out of COVID or rebuild Victoria from the devastation caused by lockdowns,” Ms Ryan said.

“I find it unforgiveable, for example, that the Andrews Labor Government is importing face masks from China instead of purchasing them locally from Shepparton-based manufacturer MedCon.

“Victoria has lost more jobs than any other due to the pandemic and we need an urgent and bold plan to turn our fortunes around.

“Instead of just buying the cheapest product, Labor should be seeking to grow local manufacturing to help our region recover from lockdowns.

“A $1 billion fund would encourage businesses to bring manufacturing back to Victoria as well as supporting existing manufacturers to expand, innovate or invest in research and development.

Ms Ryan said D & R Henderson was an important local manufacturer, producing softwood timber, particleboard and melamine laminated products.

“The Benalla wood panel producer has been at the heart of the local community since the 1930s,” Ms Ryan said.

“Instead of buying cheaply produced product from overseas, the Victorian Government could use its buying power to help business like D & R Henderson grow and employ more local people.

“D & R Henderson grew from a major plywood distributor to offering a range of solid timber and particleboard products for the general construction industry.

“The Victorian Government uses many products that the business could supply: from framing timber and particleboard sheet flooring to kitchens, shop-fitting, and domestic and commercial furniture markets.”

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