Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones were completely baffled by the Prime Minister’s third visit to the Illawarra since late last year with the Prime Minister, again, not making any sort of funding announcement for our region or addressing serious anti-dumping concerns.
In yet another bizarrely managed press conference, the Prime Minister interviewed Bisalloy representatives himself with leading questions about the Liberal’s big business tax cut and essentially claiming credit for increases in production at Bisalloy Steel.
Just how many times can a Prime Minister don a hardhat and stage manage a press conference without providing any much needed funding or commitments for the Illawarra?
Malcolm Turnbull knows that the Australian Steel Association, BlueScope Steel and Bisalloy Steel gave evidence about dumping at the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into Australia’s steel industry (page 101).
Yet he made no announcement of measures to strengthen anti-dumping protections to protect our steel industry, manufacturing jobs and agricultural jobs. In contrast, Labor has announced strong policies to toughen anti-dumping protections:
- Labor will triple penalties for circumventing trade remedies;
- Labor will better resource the Anti-Dumping Commission;
- Labor will create a one-stop shop under a tougher regime to safeguard our steel, manufacturing and agricultural jobs now and into the future.
With regard to jobs, his actions tell a very different story:
- He backed cuts to penalty rates;
- He cut almost $3 billion from TAFE and apprentices;
- He has failed to invest in local infrastructure to support our economy and jobs growth;
- He has done nothing to address slow wage growth;
- He has done nothing to stop massive private health insurance increases;
- He has done nothing to reign in soaring electricity prices;
- He wants to give massive tax cuts to big business;
- He has no policies to address rising costs of housing and other cost of living increases.
If Malcolm Turnbull visits our region again, he must come with more than a hardhat and a microphone.