Local manufacturers who provide items such as windows, glass and furniture are set to reap greater benefit from the state’s $5.4 billion social housing build following an agreement to go above and beyond local content rules on the project in terms of finishing products.

During a roundtable meeting convened last week, key players from industry, unions and the Victorian Government committed to work together to maximise locally manufactured content for furniture, fittings and equipment on the rollout of Victoria’s Big Housing Build even beyond the 85 percent requirement for the first wave of projects under the rollout.

Set to deliver more than 12,000 homes over four years, the build represents Victoria’s largest ever single investment in social housing.

Whilst the state’s Local Jobs First Policy specifies a minimum local content equal to 90 percent of the overall project cost for projects which are considered to be strategic projects, this obligation has often been filled by contractors in the past exclusively with major structural and non-material components such as steel, concrete, and labour.

As a result, finishing components and fixtures have often been sourced from overseas, meaning that local manufacturers of these products have received limited benefit from these rules.

This has included manufacturers of glass and aluminium products, cabinets, joinery, kitchens, shower screens, curtains, blinds and carpets.

For the first wave of projects under the Big House Build, however, a minimum local content requirement of 85 percent has been mandated specifically for furniture, fittings and equipment.

During the meeting, participants agreed to work together to even go beyond that and to exceed that target.

The meeting was convened by CFMEU Manufacturing National Secretary Michael O’Connor.

It was attended by senior management and union delegates from major building products and furniture manufacturers/ suppliers (Total Window Concepts, G. James, Schiavello Group, Jacaranda Industries and SOLOS Glass), senior union officials as well as the Local Jobs First Commissioner, Departmental officials, and Ministerial advisers.

In a statement, the CFMEU said the commitment will help to secure thousands of jobs in Victoria’s manufacturing belts in the North, West and South-East of Melbourne as well as Geelong and regions like Gippsland and Colac where timber workers and businesses will benefit.