AWU welcomes Labor direction, but more detail needed to save steel

Thursday 14th April 2016 0:00

The Australian Workers’ Union has today welcomed the direction outlined by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to support a strong Australian steel industry in the 21st century.

However, the AWU noted that more detail and hard targets would be necessary to ensure the future of the Australian steel industry.

A report BIS Shrapnel indicated that boosting the use of Australian steel in government infrastructure projects to 90 per cent would likely ensure the survival of the Australian steel industry.

AWU National Secretary Scott McDine said the announcement was welcome.

“What this announcement makes clear is that there is only one side of politics that is actually engaging with this issue,” Mr McDine said.

“The federal Liberal government has made it clear it does not care about saving steel jobs or looking after steel producing communities. Labor has now laid down the bones of a plan that could save steel.

“Mandating steel of an Australian-standard is necessary for safety, but it also helps put Australian manufacturers on a level footing.

“Strengthening anti-dumping measures is also vital to ensuring that below-cost steel from China and elsewhere does not punch a hole in Australian employment.

“Reintroducing a steel advocate is also a very clever and significant move.”

Mr McDine noted however that firmer targets needed to be set in terms of local steel procurement for government infrastructure projects.

“What Mr Shorten has announced today is an encouraging framework, but it needs to be built upon,” Mr McDine said.

“If we are going to build Australian infrastructure with Australian steel we need to set hard targets for procurement. Without defined goals, we are no chance of hitting the levels we need to create the win-win situation we know is possible.”

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