Only Labor Supports The Steel Industry

Illawarra federal MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones today welcomed New South Wales Labor’s pledge to secure the future of local steelmaking and steelworkers’ jobs. 

These measures complement Federal Labor’s strong plan for steel, which we will begin to implement within 100 days if we form government. 

A Shorten Labor Government will mandate Australian standards in projects funded by the Federal Government and help local producers get their certification. 

When South Australia implemented a similar plan to increase industry participation, the proportion of local content in infrastructure projects in that state increased to more than 90 per cent. 

In addition to mandating standards, a Shorten Labor Government will:

  • Maximise the use of local steel in Federal Government-funded projects and put in place regular reporting of usage levels.

  • Ensure more projects have an Australian Industry Participation Plan by lowering the threshold for projects that must comply – from $500 million down to $250 million for private projects, and from $20 million to $10 million for public projects.

  • Double the funding for the Australian Industry Participation Authority and appoint an AIP Board.

  • Ensure Australia’s anti-dumping system has the right powers and penalties in place.

  • Create a National Steel Supplier Advocate. 

Federal Labor and NSW Labor are working together to support steelmaking and the jobs that it creates and supports. 

Importantly, Labor will begin implementing our plan within 100 days of coming to government, with the establishment of a Metals Manufacturing Innovation Council. 

The Council will include representatives from industry, unions and governments and will work closely with a Shorten Labor Government to deliver this wide-ranging package of reforms. 

State and federal Labor have comprehensive policies that recognise the strategic significance of the steel industry for Australia. 

We must not become the only advanced economy in the world to let our steel industry die. 

At this election people face a clear choice. Labor has a positive plan to help secure the future of our steel industry while the Turnbull Liberal Government has no plan. 

Under the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s watch we have already seen the car industry announce its closure. We can ill afford to watch the same thing happen to our steel and metals manufacturing industries. 

Forced statements from Malcolm Turnbull on a potential role for Australian steel in defence contracts that have yet to be signed are not good enough and will do little for workers, including in the Illawarra, who rely on the steel industry for their jobs. 

On at least two occasions in the past few weeks, Mr Turnbull has been within 100 kilometres of the steel works and yet he remains a million miles away from announcing a plan for our steel industry.

MONDAY, 30 MAY 2016