Senate steel report could help Port Kembla steelworks

A Senate committee report on the steel industry could be good news for the Port Kembla steelworks, said an Illawarra steel campaigner. Picture: Sylvia Liber
A Senate committee report on the steel industry could be good news for the Port Kembla steelworks, said an Illawarra steel campaigner. Picture: Sylvia Liber

The Port Kembla steelworks would benefit from a suite of recommendations in a federal senate report into the steel industry, according to South Coast Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris.

The Senate Standing Committee on Economics was set up two years ago in the wake of crises hitting steelmakers BlueScope and Arrium.

The committee’s report includes 28 recommendations to help the Australian industry.

These include tackling high energy costs, developing a steel policy and a raft of measuring to protect the industry from steel dumping.

Mr Rorris said that, while the federal government was yet to make a decision on the recommendations, if they adopted all of them it would be a boost for the steelworks.

“I have no doubt that the combined recommendations, on the issue of dumping of steel in this country from overseas as well as the strengthening of the procurement provisions would result in a strengthening of our industry,” Mr Rorris said.

“I don’t think that there’s any doubt about that.

“Do we want them to go further? Yes, but if a government was to implement these recommendations I think that would definitely lead to a strengthening of the industry.”

Mr Rorris said he was disappointed the report stopped short of mandating a set amount of Australian steel in government projects.

Instead, it looked to “maximise the use of locally made steel in Commonwealth-funded projects”.

A spokeswoman for Federal Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos said no decision had been made on the recommendations.

“The government is considering the recommendations and will respond to the Senate committee reports,” the spokeswoman said.