Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge is in the Illawarra today to speak with steel researchers, union representatives and the industry about the need for the NSW Parliament to pass the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016. If passed the Bill will require Australian steel to be used in public infrastructure projects in NSW and is the key to securing steel manufacturing and innovation in the region.
He is touring the Port Kembla steel mill, including the innovative Springhill Works, meeting with workers and union representatives as well as visiting Steel Research Hub staff at the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.
Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge said:
“Illawarra’s steel industry is responsible for producing cutting edge products with high labour standards and a focus on environmental sustainability.
“A prime example is the work done by researchers at the University of Wollongong to develop a new roofing product that incorporates thin-film solar panels that not only produce energy but can heat and cool homes.
“Australia is unlikely to ever be the largest producer of steel, but we have a real opportunity to be the best and brightest when it comes to developing high-tech, high-value and low-carbon steel products.
“There is real potential for further research and development to reduce the environmental impacts of the steel industry and make sure it’s future in the region is sustainable. This will only happen with the investment certainty produced by legislated support for government procurement.
“The NSW government is a large buyer of steel. Their purchasing power can offer the local steel industry a real future.
“Using imported steel in major infrastructure projects might save the Baird government a few dollars in the short term, but if Port Kembla closes the economic and social costs will be far greater.
“The Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 currently before NSW Parliament would protect jobs and secure an innovative and sustainable future for the steel industry by requiring Australian steel be used in public infrastructure projects.
“It is critical that all parties support the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 when Parliament resumes on May 3rd,” Mr Shoebridge said.