Posted: 1:47 pm on 27th May 2013

There are revelations today that prove what we already know: government subsidies for the textile, clothing and footwear industry (TCF) are a complete waste of taxpayer money.

In 2005 AusIndustry launched a six year $112.5 million program “to drive innovation and renewal in the textile and clothing industry” through grants to the TCF industry.

Corporate welfare is a bad idea at the best of times but the fact that many grant recipients have since gone belly-up like Ford Australia is salt on the wound.

Lisa Ho’s fashion brand collapsed this month despite the fact that she received a $188,731 grant midway through last year. Similarly, jean manufacturer Bettina Liano went into administration and shut down all stores in Australia despite receiving grants to the tune of $297,526.

Other labels also got in on the money giveaway: Anthea Crawford ($400,834), Scanlan Theodore ($367,210), Carla Zampatti ($265,088) and teen brand Supre ($2.3 million).

Fashion subsidies are in vogue at the moment. In 2012 DFAT gave $15,400 to an individual to start the Australian-China Fashion Alliance to connect Chinese and Australian leaders in fashion – it appears this program failed to connect Lisa Ho and Bettina Liano to any willing buyers.

Despite these failures, AusIndustry has announced that the program will happen again with another $112.5 to be given away between 2011 and 2015.

It appears disaster begets disaster… when will this unvirtuous circle ever end?

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