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Buy local starts with thinking local, says business leader

THINK LOCAL: GCCI president Carl Carter is encouraging Gladstone businesses and consumers to think local and support young workers.
THINK LOCAL: GCCI president Carl Carter is encouraging Gladstone businesses and consumers to think local and support young workers. Caroline Tung

CHANGING people's mindsets is the key to getting them to buy local according to Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Carl Carter.

Mr Carter has welcomed the State Government's Buy Queensland policy but says the biggest thing was to not force people to buy local.

"We're trying to encourage business and consumers to think local first," Mr Carter said.

He says that can mean giving a young person a start in life, because small business is generally where casual staff was employed.

Small business employs 44 per cent of the state's private workforce.

Mr Carter says thinking local is key.

"When you're looking to buy something, a widget or whatever, I guess what we're hoping for is to give local business the opportunity to quote for business," he said.

"Think about them first, but of course it comes down to a lot of factors.

"Price is one, customer service is another and follow up sales service is a third point.

"We're certainly not saying you must buy local where it doesn't make sense. You've got to make that decision yourself, but our main thing is to think about those local businesses first and give them the opportunity to put their best foot forward."

Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary Alicia Williams with the Buy Local float at Friday's Workforce International float parade.
Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary Alicia Williams with the Buy Local float at Friday's Workforce International float parade. CONTRIBUTED

Gladstone Engineering Alliance ceo, Carli Homann said economic development in the regions was heavily contingent upon maximising local content supply opportunities.

"As such GEA has always voiced and advocated for and influenced the delivery of full, fair and reasonable opportunities for regional business to participate in the local content and supply chain space," she said.

"If policies like Buy Queensland were implemented appropriately and adhered to, they could be extremely beneficial to help sustain and build industry capability for start-ups.

"What I find extremely interesting is that the State Government seems to be following suit of some local councils to implement a local weighting of up to 30% on any tender.

"In recent times, as we drive around our region, we have observed and read about Queensland companies and regional business continually missing out and being overlooked for packages as a result of tenders being awarded to businesses in other states.

"As a result GEA welcomes the policy, however we continue to drive competitive tendering and ensure our members are pricing as best as they can."

"Accurate data will be required to determine if QLD businesses gain benefit (from the Buy Local policy)."

Topics:  buy local buy queensland gcci gea small business



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