Baird government ‘steel industry’s best friend’

An Illawarra steel advocate has lashed out at Premier Mike Baird for failing to meet with industry representatives during his visit to Wollongong this week. 

Mr Baird had a number of engagements while he was in the city on Monday to address the Local Government NSW annual conference.

Besides his official conference duties at the WIN Entertainment Centre, the Premier also met with medicinal cannabis campaigner Ben Oakley and toured the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate Centre.

Away from the media’s eye, Mr Baird spoke at a Southern Youth and Family Services awards night in Warilla and was reportedly spotted having a coffee with Liberal MP Gareth Ward at Wollongong cafe Lee and Me.

Steel campaigner and South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris was disappointed the Premier hadn’t attempted to talk with steelworkers.

“Not only does he not want to talk about steel or debate the steel bill, he hasn’t met with us since the steel crisis began,” Mr Rorris said. 

“Now, he’s actually in town at a local government conference, with no attempt to meet steelworkers or their representatives.  

“The government appears to be so distracted with its internal problems that it has completely lost sight of our steel industry.”

Mr Baird was asked on Monday if the government was exploring ways to help the industry. 

“This state government is effectively the best friend of steel producers this country has ever had,” he said. 

“We have a record amount of infrastructure being built. Indeed, the metro that’s being built in Sydney, 90 per cent of the steel is domestically sourced.  

“We are delivering the infrastructure that is going to give the best benefits to domestic steel producers.”

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