Don Page: RDA will work to reduce business reliance on China
The Northern Rivers chapter of Regional Development Australia (RDA) will focus this year in supporting businesses to reduce their dependence on China.
The former MP and current chair of the local RDA confirmed the organisation will encourage firms to diversity their supply chains.
"One of our key focuses will be to encourage businesses to diversify their supply chains away from China," he said.
"A lot of businesses are hooked in with China in terms of their supply chains.
"On the manufacturing side, we bring a lot of imports from China, also on wholesale and retail, we are quite heavily dependent on Chinese products.
"We need to encourage local businesses to use other local businesses as their supply chain, and procure whatever they can here rather than internationally," he said.
Mr Page said this also applies to export markets, and cited the local beef industry as an example.
"The Northern Rivers Meat Company at Casino is one of the biggest employers in the area," he said.
"That's more of an export situation, that's the other side of the equation - those who export to China (are exposed to) the punishment that China is prepared to exert for political reasons impacting on our export industries."
"We need to diversify our export to other markets like India, Japan, Indonesia, the EU, even Britain.
"This is not going to happen overnight, but as a strategic decision for RDA, we will encourage businesses to buy and to supply local as well."
Mr Page said one of the roles of RDA is to provide intelligence to the Federal Government on what support businesses around the country need.
"As part of our refreshed charter, we provide intelligence to the federal Government, and they want to know about our supply chains and what's happening in our region," he said.
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Nola Marino MP recently reappointed Mr Page as chair the RDA-Northern Rivers Committee until June 30, 2025.