Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird and Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones today welcomed the $140 million in measures being put in place by the Gillard Government to assist Bluescope steelworkers and the Illawarra community that will be affected by today’s announcement.
“This rapid and comprehensive response from the Gillard Government is a vote of confidence in the future of the Illawarra economy and in our capacity to meet the immediate challenges posed by today’s Bluescope announcement,” Mr Jones said.
“The $140 million package that is being put in place today by the Gillard Government will provide strong, practical assistance to help workers deal with a bitterly disappointing day in their working lives,” Ms Bird said.
“Although not unexpected, today’s announcement of the closure of the No 6 Blast Furnace in early October is nonetheless a heavy blow to the local economy,” Ms Bird said.
“It has been clear for some time that the sustained high Australian dollar was taking a toll on the profitability of Bluescope in the steel export market and that they could not continue to compete indefinitely in these unfavourable global market conditions,” Mr Jones said.
“The Illawarra has faced tough times in the past and come through them and I am confident that we can do the same again this time,” he said.
“In addition to bringing forward $100 million of payments under the Steel Transformation Plan, the Government is putting in place a range of measures to assist affected workers including Job Services Australia assistance, relocation assistance and a raft of training and employment assistance,” Ms Bird said.