Government blasted for 'false belief' that it cannot mandate 100 per cent use of Australian steel

State and federal government have been blasted for claims 100 per cent use of local steel in infrastructure projects is not possible. Picture:Sylvia Liber

State and federal government have been blasted for claims 100 per cent use of local steel in infrastructure projects is not possible. Picture:Sylvia Liber

Governments will pay for their ‘‘false belief’’ that it is not possible to mandate 100 per cent Australian steel use, according to a Senate inquiry submission.

It also flagged the danger that structures built with foreign steel could collapse.

The submission to the inquiry into the future of the Australian steel industry comes from 63 businesses, including the workplace of steel campaigner Ian Waters.

Mr Waters was one of a group of people behind last year’s steel petition that led to the issue being debated in NSW Parliament.

That petition called for governments to mandate 100 per cent local steel content in taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects.

The submission criticised state and federal governments for insisting that target was not feasible and points to efforts by the Victorian Liberal and Labor parties, who had steel policies of 98 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively.

It said this proved governments could take action “when they are motivated” and added there could be repercussions for those who insisted a 100 per cent target was not possible.

“Australian communities are steadily becoming enraged with this false belief and significant political fallout is bound to occur,” the submission stated.

“Hundreds of steelworkers losing their jobs, fabricators with their backs to the wall and thousands of citizens facing cutbacks and reduced living standards will not allow this false belief to continue.”

One of the suggestions at the end of the submission is that the federal government insist Australian steel is used where possible.

Another raised concerns about “the defective and dangerous steel being imported” and called on the government to insist the imported product complied with Australian standards.

“It is a likelihood that large structures/bridges etc will be collapsing over the next few years due to defective imported raw steel and non-complying fabrication,” it stated.

It also asked the government not to sign onto public procurement sections in any free trade agreement.

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