The AMWU has welcomed the federal Labor opposition’s new steel policy which includes imposing Australian standards on all steel used in federally-funded projects in a move to encourage local content.
The policy proposes tightening Australia’s anti-dumping regime, halving the threshold for Australian Industry Participation Projects plans from $500 million to $250 million, as well as creating a new steel supply advocate and doubling the funding for the Australian Industry Participation Authority.
National Secretary Paul Bastian described Mr Shorten’s six-point plan to regulate and subsidise Australia’s metals industries as a “step in the right direction”, but urged both the Coalition Government and the Labor Opposition 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. 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.”
The AMWU is advocating for a mandated 90% of high quality Australian steel to be used in government infrastructure projects instead of importing cheaper foreign steel of dubious quality.
Mr Bastian said the potential for use of local steel has already been seen in the Victorian Labor Government’s procurement policy, which has stipulated that 100 per cent local steel be used in the project to fix 50 dangerous rail crossings.
“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 concluded.