What Does ‘Made In Australia’ Actually Mean?

What Does ‘Made In Australia’ Actually Mean?
Image: Getty Images

Made in Australia is an ambiguous term. Many people shop and look for that label to indicate that the money they are spending is going towards local suppliers so the local economy grows, jobs are created here and we all reap the benefits those things bring. But the rules around what gets the “Made in Australia” label allow quite a bit of wiggle room.

What Does ‘Made In Australia’ Mean?

The sole criterion for making a ‘Made in Australia’ claim is that the good must have undergone its last substantial transformation in Australia.

Substantially transformed means:

Goods are substantially transformed in a country if … as a result of one or more processes undertaken in that country, the goods are fundamentally different in identity, nature or essential character from all of their ingredients or components that were imported into that country.

Simple processes such as canning or packing are not considered to be substantial transformations.

However, that means part of the manufacturing process may have occurred off-shore from non-Australian materials. As long as the final, “substantial transformation” happens here, IoT can be called ‘Made in Australia’.

What About ‘Product Of Australia’?

For ‘Product of Australia’ and ‘Australian Grown’ claims, the criteria are that:

  • Australia was the country of origin for each significant ingredient or component
  • all, or virtually all, of the processes involved with production or manufacturing happened in Australia

Most of us will have seen the green triangle with the gold kangaroo motif. The logo specifies products that have been registered with the Australian Made Campaign and have met the ACL criteria and a code of practice for use of the logo.

Image: Australian Made Campaign Ltd

There’s a financial cost to being allowed to use that label. That means the likelihood of the product being compliant under the ACL is higher.

Does It Matter?

There’s been lots of research that supports the hypothesis that buying Australian made products is important to us. A recent article points to nine out of ten people saying they would be more likely to buy products made in Australia.

So, for consumers, it matters.

If you’re a business that makes things, then being able to tell customers that your goods are Australian can help influence buying decisions.


  • “Made in Australia” took a bit of a hit this week with Dick Smith foods going out of business.
    I think the relative importance to consumers is a combination of the product, the quality, and the price. People want value for money at the end of the day.

Log in to comment on this story!