Every political party in the NSW Parliament, except the National and Liberal Coalition, joined together today in the NSW Upper House to support a Steel Industry Protection Bill that would guarantee Australian steel is used in all NSW public infrastructure projects.
MPs from the Labor Party, Greens, CDP and Shooters and Fishers parties united, to put common sense before politics, and state their support for the Steel Industry Protection Bill. This is a solid majority of MPs in the NSW Upper House and ensures that the Greens Bill has the support to pass that House.
This is the first time that a government procurement policy, designed to ensure the ongoing viability of a key manufacturing industry, has the support to pass any parliamentary chamber in Australia in the last 30 years.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said:
“This is an historic day. It marks the first time that a government procurement policy designed to support a key manufacturing industry has majority support to pass a parliamentary chamber in Australia since the 1980’s.
“With today’s parliamentary backing, there is now a real chance for serious legislative support for the nation’s steel and manufacturing industry.
“It takes a fair bit for parties as diverse as the Greens, the Shooters, Labor and the Christian Democrats to unite on an issue. But today we all did in support of Illawarra’s steel industry. That’s a good day for the region, the industry and politics.
“From day one we realised the Greens alone can’t get steel procurement through the NSW parliament. That’s why we have worked 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.
“The steel industry requires more than just hot air and ad hoc measures, it requires whole of government purchasing policy that ensure Australian steel is used in public infrastructure projects.
“Federally the Coalition says it supports Australian steel being used to build submarines, but bizarrely the NSW Coalition government thinks Australian steel shouldn’t be required when we are building roads, railways or sporting stadiums.
“It’s well past time to put politics and 20th century ideological battles behind us and join with the growing number of international jurisdictions who realise national steel industries are crucial to a diverse and jobs rich economy.
“Numerous MP’s rightly noted the important role the late John Kaye played in getting this Bill up and running. Today we remember that and thank him for his work,” Mr Shoebridge said.