What does "Australian Made" really mean? February 18 2015

There can be lots of reasons why someone may want to know where a product originated from. There can be economic, health, political, social and environmental reasons and there are lots of interesting debates and discussions on the pros and cons of locally sourced versus imported products.

For us at Bits of Australia, we don't like to get too serious and bogged down into great debates on whys and why nots and pros and cons. We simply focus on sourcing and selling Australian Made gifts because we understand that sometimes you might want to have something, or give someone a gift, that has a real bit of Australia weaved through it. We also love knowing that we support local Australian businesses.

It's great if you also support our ethos but at the same time we really don't mind if you simply just want to buy our products because you like them!

But why do we focus on sourcing 'Australian Made' products at Bits of Australia and what does it mean when we use terms like 'Authentic', 'Created' and 'Made in' rather than other terms like 'designed in', 'product of' and 'certified by'?

It can be really confusing trying to identify where products are from. When attempting to determine the country of origin of a product don't interpret any and every reference to Australia, including symbols and colours as an indication that the goods originate from Australia. You may find product labels that list certifications by Australian organisations and references to Australian regions or icons, but this does not necessarily mean the products are from Australia.

Bits of Australia carefully selects products from suppliers that meet the Australian Consumer Law definition of ‘Australian Made’.

 'Australian Made'

So, what exactly does the term ‘Australian Made’ mean according to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL)? 

When a product has a label stating it is ‘Made in Australia’ or 'Australian Made' it means that while the product might contain ingredients or components from other countries you can assume that a good part of the production of the item has taken place here, and a significant part of the process of transforming the goods into the finished product that you are now looking at has happened in Australia.

According to the ACL a product can be labelled ‘Made in Australia’, ‘Australian Made’, or ‘Manufactured in Australia’ if the following two criteria are satisfied:

    1. The goods were substantially transformed in Australia (referred to as the ‘substantial transformation test’);
        2. 50% or more of the total cost of production or manufacturing of the goods has occurred in Australia (referred to as the cost of production/manufacture test)

            Only when goods pass both of these tests, can the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer claim that the product is actually ‘made in Australia.’ 

            A good example of products that are Australian Made with 'substantial transformation' are the Eco Beads Bracelets and Necklaces from The Spotted Quoll. This collection of unique jewellery is made from a combination of Tasmanian specialty timbers and Tagua seeds from the tropical rainforest in South America. The Tasmanian timbers and South American Tagua seeds are made into beads, strung onto elastic and transformed into bracelets and necklaces  by artisans at The Spotted Quoll Studio in Tasmania.

            Wooden eco beads bracelet

             ‘Product of Australia’

             If you come across labelling on a product which includes the terms ‘produce of Australia’, ‘product of Australia’, 'produced in Australia' or 'grown in Australia' this does not hold the same meaning as ‘Made in Australia’.

            In order for a product to be labelled ‘produce of Australia’ or 'grown in Australia' in accordance with the ACL the goods must meet the following requirements:

            1) each significant ingredient or component of the product must originate from Australia
                2) all, or almost all of the processes used to produce or manufacture the product must have been carried out in Australia

                   A good example of a product which would satisfy these requirements is our Australian wool babies blankets from Clara's Corner where 100% Australian wool has been used to crochet these beautiful blankets which have been designed and hand crocheted here in Australia.

                  Grey Australian Wool Blanket


                  While we would love to stock more gifts which are 'products of Australia', in this day and age it is extremely difficult to achieve this. Some of our products are made up of several different components and if one key component does not originate from Australia it cannot be referred to as a 'product of Australia', even though it may have been designed and manufactured right here and is why they are labelled 'Australian Made' or "Created in Australia'.

                  Why we don't stock 'Designed in Australia' products

                  At Bits of Australia we love supporting Australian designers, but we love having the opportunity to support the designers, the artisan makers and manufacturers even more. We simply focus on sourcing and selling Australian Made gifts because we understand that sometimes you might want to have something, or give someone a gift, that has a real bit of Australia weaved through it. 

                  That's why we don't sell products that have only been designed in Australia. Products designed in Australia have been made in other countries and imported into Australia.

                   The 'Australian Made' logo

                  There are a lot of logos which you may see to indicate whether a product is 'Australian Made' or a 'Product of Australia' and that is because the Australian Consumer Law does not prescribe the use of a specific logo.

                  One of the most well known logos is the green and gold kangaroo shown below. These logos are trademarks of the Australian Made Campaign Limited and Australian business are able to use this logo on their products by paying a licence fee. Bits of Australia is a licensed retail supporter of the Australian Made campaign and we are able to use their Retail Support Logo.

                   Australian Made Logo

                  At Bits Of Australia we like to support up and coming artisans as well as established makers so you may notice that not all of our products have a logo like that of the Australian Made Campaign's. As part of our process we provide our suppliers with the definition of 'Australian Made' under the Australian Consumer Law and they in return provide us with only products that fit this definition.

                  For more information on Country of Origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law visit the ACCC website.

                  We hope we haven't confused you more with this blog! Be assured we are always looking out for the best bits of Australia for you.