The recent job losses at BlueScope left a $400 million hole in the economy, according to a Wollongong City Council submission to a Senate inquiry.
The council added its voice to the Senate inquiry into the future of the Australian steel industry via a two-page letter signed by Lord Mayor Gorden Bradbery.
The letter highlighted BlueScope’s commitment to staying in the region but referred to a study carried out by economic planners REMPLAN that pointed out the damage done by the loss of 500 jobs at the steelmaker.
“However, it should be recognised that despite BlueScope’s announcement, there were still impacts on the economy of current job losses of around 500 people,” the submission stated.
... despite BlueScope’s announcement, there were still impacts on the economy of current job losses of around 500 people.Wollongong City Council
“REMPLAN modelling demonstrates these 500 current job losses will have a flow-on multiplier effect, with total job losses (taking into account the industrial and consumption effects) estimated at around 791 people and a $402 million impact on the economy.”
The council submission said the Illawarra economy is changing, with growth in the health and education sectors.
“White Wollongong’s economy is transforming and diversifying, the manufacturing sector continues to play a vitally important role,” it said.
“Manufacturing remains the most important sector in terms of output to the region, contributing around $7.906 billion annually in revenue to the region’s gross regional product of $18.6 billion.”
The council wrote that it supported the local steel industry and its importance to the regional economy and referred to action it had already taken, including making changes to its procurement policies.
The submission supported the recommendations of the Illawarra Business Chamber, including requiring government suppliers to conform to quality standards for steel and measures to improve local content procurement.