30 May 2016
The future of steel making and jobs in the Illawarra will be secure and sustainable with a State Labor Government requiring the 90% use of Australian-made steel in all publicly funded infrastructure projects across New South Wales.
NSW Labor has announced a comprehensive Secure and Sustainable Steel Jobs package of measures proposing substantial changes to the State’s procurement policy, which for the first time will consider a ‘whole of life’ assessment of steel use in major infrastructure projects.
The package also includes a review of the State’s Infrastructure Plan providing an indicative future demand for Australian-made steel in infrastructure projects setting up a known ‘pipeline’ of projects so Australian steel producers can plan for this demand.
A Steel Industry Advocate will be appointed to ensure new Australian standards and certification for Australian-made steel use is monitored and complied with, and will be based in the Illawarra.
This will stop different classifications and low-quality (imported) standard of steel being used in publicly-funded state infrastructure.
The Steel Industry Advocate will also be tasked with undertaking a major NSW Steel and Fabrication Sector Review focusing on the supply chain capability of the sector, coordination of innovation and research and development, and investments in plant and equipment.
The NSW Labor steel and jobs policy follows extensive consultation with a range of steel unions and steel industry stakeholders after threats to the continued production of steel at BlueScope Steel last year.
NSW Labor supported the State Government’s payroll tax concessions but is critical that no further measures have been implemented to support the sustainable future for the steel industry and jobs.
A BIS Shrapnel report published in August 2015 confirmed that if the steel industry stopped steel production in the Illawarra it would wipe-out $3 billion in the value of the region’s economy and up to 10,000 jobs would be lost.
Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park MP today said:
“This is a great day for the Illawarra.
“I’ve been working closely with a range of steel unions and steel industry stakeholders to develop this package of measures.
“The Government thought its jobs was done last year, but there is still so much more that must be done to ensure a sustainable and strong steel industry.
“Labor Leader Luke Foley said in his Budget speech last June that the Illawarra would never be left behind in the economic transition challenges we face.
“Our Secure and Sustainable Steel Jobs package will ensure a strong and viable steel industry continues in the Illawarra and the thousands of manufacturing jobs in the region are protected.
“Labor’s plan leads the way.”
Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Industry, Adam Searle MLC said:
“Only Labor understands the need for a secure and sustainable steel industry in the Illawarra.
“We are proposing the most substantial changes to the State’s procurement policy in a generation.
“While securing the economic future for the Illawarra, this is a Steel Plan for all of NSW. Through the “whole of life” assessment focus, it will improve the integrity and longevity of every publicly funded infrastructure project in this State and provide better value for money. The Plan will also provide confidence for and secure the future for those companies that supply products and services to the Steel industry in the Illawarra, many of whom are located in West and South Western Sydney and the Hunter region.”
“Labor’s message is very clear: we support the steel and manufacturing base in the Illawarra and the thousands of jobs relying on it.
“While this plan secures the future of the steel industry and the Illawarra region, it is broader than both – it provides economic security for all the providers of goods and services to the steel industry and all the other industries that depend on a strong steel sector. It achieves this while ensuring the integrity of infrastructure projects and real value for money for taxpayers not only on the initial purchase price but over the whole life of projects.”