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Is the Australian Made message being lost overseas?

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Is the Australian Made message being lost overseas? article image

When selecting a product, how do you know if it is made or grown in Australia? 

“It’s not always easy,” admits Glenn Cooper, the newly appointed chairman of the Australian Made Campaign – the not-for-profit organisation that administers the famous green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo. 

Mr Cooper, who is also the executive chairman of Coopers Brewery Ltd, is concerned at the lack of an effective country-of-origin labelling system. 

He is also concerned that buyers are confused by a “myriad of logos” purporting to promote Australian made goods nationally and internationally. 

“We need one logo that is easily identifiable and trusted, he says. “That’s the Australian Made logo that has been around since the mid-80s.” News_Is the Australian Made message being lost

Mr Cooper puts most of the blame for the confusion in the marketplace on Government departments. 

“Government departments should support just one logo – a logo that is recognized and trusted not only in Australia, but throughout the world. 

“That is the AMAG logo. The green and gold triangle is now recognized throughout the world.” 

Mr Cooper says the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) has developed its own version of an Australian Made logo at a cost of $20 million. 

The logo comprises two boomerangs and carries an Australia Unlimited slogan. 

Why re-invent the wheel? 

“What do two boomerangs and the words ‘Australia Unlimited’ mean to people overseas? asks Mr Cooper. 

“It’s frustrating that Government departments want to go down a single path and create their own logo. Why re-invent the wheel?” 

Mr Cooper can’t understand why government is not doing more to support the high-profile AMAG logo. 

“We have a logo that is already recognized. Why don’t we start building trust in that logo? 

The AMAG logo is simple in design and carries a strong message, he says. 

The green and gold colors are worn by Australian athletes in competition internationally and the stylized kangaroo inside the triangle is synonymous with Australia. 

“It can’t be anything else,” says Mr Cooper. 

Commercial advantage 

Australia has one of the strongest nation brands in the world, he says. 

And having products recognised as “Australian” in the marketplace generally provides a commercial advantage to Australia’s exporters. 

For many businesses, the Australian brand is the strongest available to them in export markets. 

The AMAG logo is Australia’s registered country-of-origin certification trademark for genuine Australian products and produce. It is also a registered certification trademark in China, South Korea and the USA, with registration pending in Singapore. 

Launched in 1986, it is now used by more than 1800 companies on more than 10,000 products, across the country and around the world. 

More than 40 percent of the 1800 companies licensed to use the logo are exporters. 

Strict set of rules 

Research has shown that Australian products carrying the logo in export markets are more likely to increase sales than Australian products not carrying the logo. 

Also, companies that display the AMAG logo must abide by a strict set of rules. 

“Those displaying the logo on goods must adhere to those rules and they are monitored. So you have to stay within the guidelines, says Mr Cooper. 

“Other logos now being used aren’t as strict. You may be an Australian-owned company selling imported goods.” 

Mr Cooper says an education campaign is needed to assist consumers about the benefits of choosing Australian Made products. 

Given a choice most people would choose Australian Made products over imported goods, he says – even if they have to pay a little more. 

Identification factor 

But Mr Cooper says one of the biggest problems for consumers is identifying which food products are grown or processed in Australia. 

“We struggle with the identification factor,” he says.

Rather than increased “protection” for Australian Made goods, we must make identification far easier. 

To help achieve that goal, the Australian Made Campaign has been pushing for sweeping changes to food labelling laws. 

Earlier this year AMAG representative appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry to give evidence to the committee’s inquiry into the country-of-origin labelling of food. 

Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, and Compliance and Policy Manager, Lisa Crowe made recommendations to the committee on how food labelling laws could be improved, to build greater consumer confidence in the labelling of Australian products and produce. 

Country of origin labelling system 

“Research clearly shows that consumers have a preference for food products that are made and grown in Australia, Mr Harrison told the Committee. 

“An effective country-of-origin labelling system, trusted and understood by consumers, will strengthen this important asset for Australia’s food growers and processors. 

“This will help combat the number of companies attempting to mislead consumers regarding their products’ true country-of-origin. 

“Consistent food labelling laws would provide consumers with greater certainty in the choices they make at the checkout, and support growers and manufacturers of genuine Aussie products.”

So why should Australians buy Australian Made products? 

“For our children and for our future,” Mr Cooper says frankly. 

And by supporting Australian Made, consumers are helping to protect Australian jobs. 

“You can’t push or force people to buy Australian products, he says. “But we need to encourage people to support Australian producers.” 

Mr Cooper says his main aim as the new AMAG chairman will be to explore ways to further promote the traditional logo nationally and internationally. 

To find out whether your products qualify, to apply for use of the logo, or for more information, visit: www.australianmade.com.au.

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