Is it really that important to buy Australian?
If you’d been paying attention, not too long ago Australia experienced a panic surrounding frozen berries.
A bunch of products and a couple of brands were recalled, due to cases of Hepatitis A diagnosed after eating contaminated berries.
Many of the reactions were “See this is why you should buy Australian! Stop sending your money overseas!! Stop costing Australians jobs!”
I have a bit of a problem with this mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. Supporting the economy within Australia is important, and supporting the local farmers is even more important.
However, people seem to forget importing products into Australia actually creates jobs. How do I know this? Well, I have one of them!
I work in the import/export industry. These are the types of jobs that are created because of bringing in products from other countries:
- Shipping lines – these are the companies that own vessels that bring in the containers of product. All types of products are shipped in containers, food included. There are offices in all the major cities for most of the major shipping lines.
- Freight forwarders – these companies are required to clear the product for both export (out of origin country) and import (into destination country). Freight forwarders are also the ones that deal with Australian Customs and AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service) on your company’s behalf.
- Warehouses – once the product arrives into the country, most of the time you need to store the product until the customer requires it. We don’t own our own warehouse, so we use a third party warehouse, who store, and deliver on our behalf.
- Transport companies – these are the companies that we use to not only deliver to the customers, but also to pick up the product from the wharf, and bring back to the warehouse. There are transport companies that we use for specialised goods, namely dangerous goods, and oversized loads.
While it is important to use local, there are times where it’s just not possible, particularly in the industry I’m in. But that doesn’t mean that Australians are not benefiting from goods being imported from other countries. There are jobs that are created for the sole purpose of bringing goods into the country, and also for sending goods out of the country.
People also seem to forget that food in particular is seasonal. Not all fruits and vegetables grow all year round, so if you are wanting navel oranges for instance, these only grow between June and October, whereas in the United States, their season is September through to February. So if we want navel oranges in Australia between November and February, we will need to import them.
Having said that, in 2012-13, Australia’s export of oranges to other countries was at it’s highest, with Hong Kong importing over 30,000 tonnes. This also helps our economy.
So if something comes up that makes people question whether to buy Australian or not, will you automatically say “stop sending money overseas?” or will you remember those whose jobs in Australia rely on the import industry?
Do you buy Australian? Do you think it’s important?