HON. WAYNE SWAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LILLEY
CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT (PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY)
FEDERATION CHAMBER, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2018
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Sanofi Consumer Healthcare is a complementary medicine manufacturer located in Virginia in the electorate of Lilley. It employs more than 300 locals and annually produces around 360 million soft gels and 1.8 billion tablets. Currently its products are eligible for the Australian Made label, which acknowledges the high quality of Australian-made products. This label assists Sanofi to secure its lucrative $1.2 billion export market for complementary medicine. The Australian Made label has given Sanofi and other Australian based companies a competitive advantage in export markets, particularly in China.
The nature of the Sanofi supply chain means some raw ingredients need to be imported because certain ingredients are not able to be grown domestically due to the Australian climate. In March, changes to the Australian Made guidelines will mean Sanofi and others won't be able to use the Australian Made label from 1 June 2019. These changes to the guidelines don't recognise the work that is done to imported raw ingredients to create this uniquely Australian product. For over six months, Sanofi has met with the government, trying to reach a solution. However, the government has been dithering—simply paralysed—and has done absolutely nothing to fix this problem. So Sanofi will soon have to begin the process of removing the Australian Made label from its products, and this will damage its standing in critical export markets. This will mean production shutdowns and staff lay-offs can be expected, as the manufacturers adjust to anticipated reduction in demand.
There is a simple solution to this. It has been sitting on the desk of Minister Andrews for a long time. It's been with both prime ministers for a long time, but in 'Liberal-world'—now 'Morrison-world'—simply nothing ever happens, even when there are very simple solutions. There are some quick steps the government could take to avert these lay-offs, fix this problem and protect a vital export market. The export market for these products is a huge advantage for Australia, and it's been a stunning success for this country, but the government is simply paralysed and sitting on its hands as this car crash evolves.
Also, for local businesses, we've got the debacle of the NBN rollout. Fortunately, in my electorate of Lilley, there are around 20,000 households that received Labor's first-class NBN. There are another 20,000 households that got the 'fraudband', but the rollout of the NBN was then suspended over a year ago and there are another 20,000 households that are getting nothing.