Labor's plan a realistic path for steel industry

Wednesday 15th June 2016 0:00

Federal Labor’s commitment to a $150 million steel reserve gives Australia’s industry a realistic plan for a prosperous future, the Australian Workers’ Union said today.

It’s now time for the Coalition to match the commitment and ease widespread anxiety among families in steel industry communities.

Under a package announced today, Labor has committed to $100 million in grants and financing as part of a joint steel reserve which includes an additional $50 million contribution from the South Australian Government. 

The funds will support jobs at the South Australian Whyalla Arrium mining and manufacturing operation. Due to a global steel glut, Arrium is currently under administration. However, like other Australian steel producers, Arrium has a strong future, provided it can make the necessary investments to upgrade its plant and equipment.

The Federal Labor plan announced today also commits to better managing Australia’s $46 billion pipeline of transport manufacturing projects so that local steel producers are ready and able to bid for work in an orderly fashion as it emerges.

“Today’s Labor announcement of a steel reserve is the right mix of creative thinking and common sense to promote and secure quality Australian jobs,” said Scott McDine, Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary.

“Australian steel has a viable, prosperous future, but only if we have governments willing to back it. Other steel producing nations have realised the economic and strategic benefit of a steel industry and it’s extremely positive to see Labor come to the table with a plan.

“Thousands of families across the country will tonight be reassured by this announcement.

“Unfortunately, there's been a deafening silence from Malcolm Turnbull, Christopher Pyne and Rowan Ramsey about the steel industry. At the last election, Tony Abbott and the Liberals were happy to pose in high-vis vests, now Malcolm Turnbull has a chance to show his support for blue collar jobs is real.

"If it’s good enough for some of our biggest trading partners such as China, the US and the UK to support their industries, surely it’s good enough for the Liberal Party to do the same.”

MEDIA CONTACTS: Anil Lambert 0416 426 277