Fittingly Wollongong was where the Labor party announced how it would stop Australia becoming a dumping ground for below-cost foreign goods.
Senator Kim Carr said the first step was to make it easier for local manufacturing firms to take effective action against dumping of below cost foreign goods into Australia.
Speaking at the University of Wollongong on Monday, the Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research said treating the Anti-Dumping Commission as a “soft-touch” will be a no-go under a federal Labor government.
Mr Carr said Labor would ensure this by having strong measures in place to protect Australian industry and Australian jobs from dumped cheap steel and aluminium.
The Victorian senator said dumping was cheating and a particular problem for Australia’s steel industry.
“The announcement by the United States of a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel from a number of other countries increases the threat of more steel being dumped in Australia, putting further pressure on an industry already feeling the impact of a glut of foreign steel production,” Mr Carr said.
He said Australian manufacturing jobs depend upon strong anti-dumping laws.
“That’s why we will introduce a mechanism that will allow businesses in anti-dumping investigations to nominate the form of duty that should be applied,” Mr Carr said.
“We will also restrict the time available for cited dumpers to request a review of ADC decisions to prevent them gaming the system to their advantage.
“And, we will amend the Census and Statistics Act to improve access to trade and import data held by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”
The measures announced on Monday follow Labor’s pledge earlier this year to increase funding for the Anti-Dumping Commission by $3.5 million a year and to transfer responsibilities for safeguard measures from the Productivity Commission to the Anti-Dumping Commission.
Senator Carr and federal Labor MP’s Jason Clare, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones also participated in a round-table event at UOW’s Facility for Intelligent Fabrication.
Associate Professor Stephen van Duin also attended to hear how Labor would secure the future of manufacturing.
“Any additional spending towards manufacturing is supported by us and is exactly in line in terms of what we are trying to achieve in increasing manufacturing capability across Australia,” Prof Duin said.
“There is a cultural shift happening in Australia where we are moving to disruptive technology which are making a difference in the way that manufacturing is carried out.
“Some of the advanced technologies that we [Facility for Intelligent Fabrication] have is not only demonstrating but actually transferring that technology to industry.
“Money put against that to assist with having access to those technologies is only a positive thing.”