The future of the Australian steel industry is one step closer to being secured, with the Greens Steel Industry Protection Bill today passing the NSW Upper House.
Every political party in the NSW Parliament, except the National and Liberal Coalition, today voted in support of the bill that would guarantee Australian steel is used in all NSW public infrastructure projects.
The Steel Industry Protection Bill will now be sent to the lower house, and Premier Baird will have to explain to steel workers and the Illawarra community why his government opposes this sensible policy that will save jobs and secure the future of the steel industry.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said:
“This is an historic day for the Illawarra region, the steel industry and politics, with the NSW Upper House passing a bill that requires all state-funded infrastructure projects to use Australian steel.
“This is the first time that a procurement policy, designed to ensure the ongoing viability of a key manufacturing industry, has passed any parliamentary chamber in Australia in the last 30 years.
“The Greens, the Labor party, the Shooters and Fishers, and the Christian Democrats have put their politics to one side and united to save the steel industry in the Illawarra.
“The Steel Industry Protection Bill has been a collaborative project with unions, steel workers, the Illawarra community and almost all political parties to ensure a future for the Australian steel industry.
“With this historic bill passing the Upper House, pressure is now mounting on Premier Baird to explain why his government opposes this sensible policy that will save jobs and secure the future of the steel industry.
“Today we’re also remembering the important role the late John Kaye played in getting this Bill up and running. This bill was initiated by him and we thank him for his work.” Mr Shoebridge said.
Illawarra Greens Convenor Cath Blakey said:
“The Coalition’s opposition to steel procurement purely ideological. They have little regard for the future of the workers at the Bluescope plant or sustainability of the economy in the Illawarra.
“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.
“The Baird Government needs to put politics aside and join with the growing number of international jurisdictions who realise national steel industries are crucial to a diverse and jobs rich economy.
“The Coalition has abandoned the steel industry in the Illawarra but thankfully the Greens, the Opposition and the crossbench have come together to fight for its future.
“We want to thank Greens MP David Shoebridge for taking this bill to a successful vote, in confirms why it’s so important to have Greens in the Upper House.” Ms Blakey said.