Australian Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane is setting up a meeting of key stakeholders in Wollongong to discuss a long-term economic strategy for the region.
The meeting – to be held on 7 September – will bring together local federal MPs, BlueScope Steel, workers, unions, the local council, the business community and the university, to discuss the concerns about the future of steel production at Port Kembla and its impact on jobs in the region.
Mr Macfarlane said the Australian Government recognised the steel industry’s important role as contributor to both the Illawarra and the national economy and the importance of developing a strategy for long-term economic development and jobs growth in the region.
“While BlueScope Steel has outlined the serious challenges it is facing to maintain international competitiveness, these are challenges that all Australian businesses must face when trading in international markets,” the Minister said.
“The Australian Government is working with industry sectors to set the right economic environment to maximise competitiveness for Australian industry, including by ensuring businesses aren’t burdened with excessive red and green tape or regulation.”
He said the Government’s measures to reduce regulatory burdens have already yielded results and helped the steel industry enhance international competitiveness and build new connections with research and science.
“BlueScope Steel has said that the removal of the carbon tax and the Australian Government’s ongoing programme to cut red and green tape, as well as the Government’s exemption from the RET for emissions intensive trade exposed industries, have all helped increase its competitiveness,” Mr Macfarlane added.
“The Government is committed to fostering an environment where Australian businesses have an opportunity to bid for work on Australian projects and major Government procurement contracts. The Government supports an open market economy as the best way to generate investment and employment.”