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ECA In The Media

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Push For Protective Gear Made In Australia

By ECA In The Media

Government urged to manufacture protective workwear in Australia to guarantee supply and safety.

The national body for ethical textile, clothing and footwear manufacturing will today urge the Federal Government to ensure all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is made onshore by ethically-accredited businesses to prevent potential safety and security risks, and to protect workers from exploitation.

Angela Bell, the National Manager of Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA), and ECA committee representatives, will appear at an Inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to recommend that the same rules applied to the ADF’s standard combat uniform be applied to all PPE sold in Australia.

“We want to see the same commonwealth procurement rules that are in place for the standard combat uniform worn by Australian Defence Force members for PPE in the future to protect essential workers and secure local supply chains,” Ms Bell said.

Ms Bell will also urge the Committee to view ethical supply chains as non-negotiable now and post COVID-19.

“The government should put in place parameters to ensure it is not working with businesses that exploit workers or engage in modern slavery,” said Ms Bell.

“Having these products made locally and by an ECA-accredited manufacturer would minimise any such risks for the government.”

“When the pandemic hit, there were significant shortages of PPE, and we saw products that were not fit for purpose being produced and imported,” Ms Bell said.

“Had the production of these items already been procured onshore by our governments, then the crisis and concern about the supply of PPE would have been a relative non-issue.”

“The fact that Australia was heavily reliant on overseas supply chains to respond to PPE needs presented a significant risk and it will do so in the future if we don’t bring manufacturing of a minimum number of PPE items onshore.”


The Age: From Fashion to Face Masks, How COVID-19 is Creating Rag Trade Jobs

By ECA In The Media

The demand for locally-made face masks has bolstered Australian clothing manufacturers enabling many to keep their doors open and employ more workers during COVID-19.

Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA), the national accreditation body for the textiles, clothing, and footwear industry, reports that about a quarter of its 100 accredited businesses have changed their manufacturing to include face mask production, to meet local demand.

In a sign of the popularity for local, ethically made face masks, ECA’s website crashed last week due to the high volume of people searching for options. And many local manufacturers have experienced similar scenarios since the Victorian Government announced its mandatory face masks requirement.

ECA-accredited businesses have reported that they’re hiring more people than ever to keep up with orders and demand for locally-made, ethically produced face masks.

“Since the pandemic hit ECA has witnessed how our local industry and its workers have responded with great speed and capability. They have adapted, created new designs and made the products that are been required to protect frontline workers, and now everyday citizens, against COVID-19,” said Angela Bell, National Manager, Ethical Clothing Australia.

“It has shone a spotlight on the need to have these skills and capabilities here – that our local industry is alive and extremely valuable and they want to contribute in the response to the pandemic. It is fortunate that this is leading to greater volumes of work for our local businesses and their workers.”

Ethical Clothing Australia says it is important that workers’ rights are not forgotten during the pandemic, particularly given that the Textiles Clothing and Footwear industry has complex supply chains

“The response from the public that we have seen in the past week shows that consumers want to buy Australian, but they also want to know that the mask was made by workers who are not being exploited or working in unsafe conditions,” said Ms Bell.

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