Campaign to save steel industry gets welcome boost

The Greens welcome the announcement by the NSW Labor Opposition that they support every publicly funded infrastructure project in NSW using at least 90 percent of Australian-made steel.

The Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 currently before the NSW Parliament would enact this policy and could be debated as soon as this Thursday.

The bill would require all state government funded infrastructure projects using more than 2 tonnes of steel to use only locally manufactured steel. The bill excludes products that cannot be reasonably made in Australia or from local steel from the mandate, which would be equivalent to Labor’s 90 percent target.

Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge said:

“This is a major step forward in the campaign to ensure the future of the Illawarra’s steel manufacturing industry.

“From Whyalla to Port Kembla, mandatory steel procurement by government agencies is the surest path to securing the future of the Australian steel industry and the thousands of jobs it supports.

“This week, the NSW Legislative Council has the opportunity to make history by passing a bill that would require all state government projects use Australian made steel.

“The Greens alone can’t get steel procurement through the NSW parliament. We want to work with Labor and the cross benchers to get this bill through the Legislative Council so we can put real pressure on the Liberal-National government in the Lower House.

“Whether it is mandating standards, putting in place compliance measures or creating an industry advocate, all these measures are entirely consistent with Steel Industry Protection Bill before the parliament.

“By legislating that public infrastructure works must use locally manufactured steel, NSW can forge a path that the rest of the country can follow.

“If Australia loses local steel manufacturing, it’s gone for good. There are no second chances.

“With just two sitting weeks left before the NSW Parliament rises for the winter break, securing the future of steel making in the Illawarra and across the country is a matter of urgency.

“It is a testament to the late Greens NSW MP John Kaye that he was able to gain such broad political support for steel procurement policy in this state and across the country,” Mr Shoebridge said.

For more information: David Shoebridge 0408 113 952

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