Liberal federal MP Sophie Mirabella has lashed the Nationals Victoria Deputy Premier and Police Minister Peter Ryan over his decision to award a contract to supply fabric for Victoria Police uniforms to a company that uses cheap Chinese labour at the expense of a local business that employs 400 people.
The feisty front-bench spokesman for Industry and local MP representing the local community where former supplier Bruck Textiles are located in Wangaratta has demanded an inquiry into Ryan’s decision.
She has told the ABC that his decision was "not good enough"
Bruck’s boss Alan WIlliamson also wants an inquiry and ripped into Ryan in the local press describing his stewardship of his portfolio as a “farce and schemozzle” (displaying an impressive knowledge of Yiddish by country Victorian standards). Williamson excoriated Ryan:
“I expected better from him,’’ he said. Ken Jasper (former member for Murray) would never have allowed this on his watch.’’
Mirabella has also questioned whether tender decisions made on Ryan’s watch are being properly made and has called on him to show some leadership in support of local business rather than let Victoria Police uniforms be made in China:
"I have called on the Police Minister to initiate an inquiry into Victoria Police procurement practices," she said.
"Bruck were told as late as the 6th of July that no such contracts were in place."
Ms Mirabella says it is not good enough for the State Government not to support a local company.
"It’s just not good enough, Bruck is a very good company, it’s … innovative, it has been very active in trying to engage government and governments at all levels need to show leadership in being fair and open in their tender processes with Australian companies," she said.
A Nats MP who preferred not to be named told VEXNEWS that "Sophie was just being Sophie" and noted that this was just a temporary situation while the new-look tough-on-crime dark-blue uniforms were being made.
It is thought unlikely that the state government will take up Ms Mirabella’s call for an inquiry.