Government vows to assist Arrium workers

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Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne has expressed his disappointment at last week’s announcement that Arrium has been placed into voluntary administration despite the Government’s efforts to help the company avoid such an outcome.

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The Government has implemented a number of policy reforms to help Australia’s steel industry, and Arrium in particular, to better absorb the costs of regulatory burden in the face of substantial challenges primarily caused by the significant oversupply of steel.

Last month, the Prime Minister announced a project to upgrade 600 kilometres of rail line between Adelaide and Tarcoola to substantially boost demand for steel production from Whyalla.

The Government has also sanctioned the repeal of the carbon tax, agreed to examine the opportunities and challenges of government procurement policies, made changes to the anti-dumping reforms and removed more than $4.5 billion in red and green tape since September 2013.

“The Government’s November 2015 anti-dumping reforms, which address many of the concerns raised by Australian industry, have significantly strengthened Australia’s anti-dumping system,” the Minister said.

“The Anti-Dumping Commission is also currently undertaking an analysis of Asian steel and aluminium markets to identify trends in dumping and consider ways to improve the efficiency of investigations and possible additional measures.”

However, Mr Pyne acknowledged that Arrium’s ongoing issues cannot be addressed with further regulatory interventions and stated that the Government’s efforts will be directed toward helping affected workers.

“This is a difficult time for the workers and families affected, particularly in Whyalla. While we are advised by the Administrator’s that it remains business as usual, the Federal Government stands ready to assist the workers of Whyalla,” the Minister said.

“The Government, through jobactive, already has a range of support services available for workers who have recently lost their jobs from Arrium.  Any additional assistance would build on these existing employment services.”