NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay took part in her first tour of BlueScope Steel on Friday before revealing details about the State Opposition's NSW Made campaign.
Ms McKay spoke of the need for the NSW Government to buy local steel for infrastructure projects.
Flanked by shadow minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park, shadow minister for natural resources Paul Scully and member for Shellharbour Anna Watson she said "if the government is going to continue its infrastructure agenda, and we are supportive of that, then please look at how we also support local companies creating local products and local materials".
"We need to be bold and brave in regard to policy when it comes to procurement to see us through this recession," Ms McKay said.
Asked about whether the campaign would help ensure a future reline of the No 6 Blast Furnace Mr Scully said it was part of the conversation Labor was having with BlueScope about ongoing capacity.
"I hope to see the steelworks operate well into the future, improving its operations and reducing its pollution and carbon loads as it has continued to do for a long time," he said.
"Many people don't know that BlueScope is using nearly 20 per cent renewable electricity here at Port Kembla. And 97 per cent of the water used here is recycled sewerage. And they continue to use tonnes and tonnes of recycled steel in their production.
"With the government's new stimulus money we want to see it circulating through the economy".
Ms McKay said Labor is focused on ensuring more products and materials are made in NSW and particularly Port Kembla.
She said BlueScope's steel making operation provided employment for 3000 people directly and many more indirectly in the Illawarra.
"BlueScope Steel is an example of a company we should value more here in NSW," Ms McKay said.
"We should look at the products they manufacture and we should think more about how we use those products in projects here in NSW.
"What we are urging the government to do is look at the procurement power of government.
"There are so many jobs that are attached to using NSW made products and materials".
Ms McKay said the COVID-19 pandemic was making many people realise there was a real opportunity to make more products in NSW. But it should also be government policy beyond such a crisis.
She said Labor has given notice of a Bill in NSW Parliament that focuses on 'jobs, jobs, jobs' within the state so it can come out of the recession with more jobs not less.
Friday's tour of the steelworks was an opportunity to consult BlueScope about the new Bill.
"We need to do more than just building infrastructure," Ms McKay said.
:"We need to be looking at the products that are actually going into these big infrastructure projects and ensuring companies like BlueScope Steel are being supported.
"We also want to see a focus on manufacturing. We should be celebrating our manufacturing capability in areas like the Illawarra.
"So today NSW Labor begins its campaign to see products and materials made in NSW".
Mr Scully said it was great to be able to take the Labor leader on a tour of the steelworks which is critical to the state's economic future during and after COVID-19.
He said he and his Labor colleagues are proud of the quality of steel made at Port Kembla and want to see it used in every road, bridge, school, hospital and building around the state as well as new hydrogen cars at a Wollongong factory earmarked by new Australian company H2X.
Mr Scully said the campaign to use more Port Kembla made steel in NSW infrastructure projects was one that will not stop.
"I am unashamedly biased about seeing Wollongong products and Port Kembla steel used in NSW Government projects," he said.
BlueScope Steel's Australian Steel Products chief executive John Nowlan said the company was very happy about stimulus money and infrastructure projects being fast-tracked to stimulate the economy.
"What we would like to see is targets around local content used in those projects," he said.
"Those sort of targets exist in places like Victoria, South Australia and West Australia and that helps to ensure there is more local content in those kind of projects.
"It also helps to build a base of fabricators and contractors who are actually using our steel.
"For every million dollars of Australian steel that is used that generates about 16 jobs. There is an economic multiplier from the use of Australia steel. So if $200 million of steel is used in these projects in NSW that would generate something like 3000 jobs in the economy. That is a very important aspect of this".
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