The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has welcomed the steel policy announced by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as a step in the right direction.
AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian said both the Government and Opposition need to do more to ensure the future of the steel industry.
“We welcome Bill Shorten’s policy on stronger anti-dumping provisions and more stringent quality standards and these are important policies to ensure the future of our industry” Mr Bastian said.
“We are also pleased that the Opposition has reduced the threshold for Australian Industry Participation plans from projects valued at $500m to $250m,” he said
“However, we are disappointed that Labor has not backed mandated local content on government projects. This is a missed opportunity to turn government spending on nation-building infrastructure into secure jobs in the steel industry,” he said.
Mr Bastian said the global oversupply of steel, driven by the Chinese government’s failure to address overcapacity, is putting pressure on manufacturers across the globe.
The AMWU is campaigning for a mandated 90 per cent of high quality Australian steel in government infrastructure projects instead of turning to cheaper foreign steel of dubious quality.
BIS Shrapnel has reported that a local procurement policy would add only 0.2% to infrastructure costs and would keep Australia’s steelmakers in production. This would add $1.3 billion to real GDP over the next five years and save thousands of steelmaking jobs.
“We need Labor and the Coalition to focus on promoting the use of Australian steel in government infrastructure projects as a matter of urgency,” Mr Bastian said.