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IBC calls on Government to secure the future of steel, create jobs of the future

Release Date: 17/02/2016
The Illawarra Business Chamber is calling for Federal Government action to secure the future of steel and diversify the economy, asking a Senate Inquiry to consider measures to lift quality, enhance opportunities for steel producers, and bolster entrepreneurship and innovation in the Illawarra.

“Steel is the backbone of the Illawarra economy, and a vital contributor to the economy of our nation as a whole,” IBC Chief Executive Officer Debra Murphy said.
“That’s why we were pleased to be asked to contribute to the Senate Inquiry into the future of the steel industry.
“We know that steel creates jobs, skills and investment.  Past studies have shown that the industry indirectly creates up to 5 jobs for every direct job it generates. These jobs bring dollars, and those dollars support other businesses in the Illawarra.
“The steel industry also provides our region, state and nation with a safe, high quality and reliable supply of a product that we use to build railways, bridges, hospitals and schools.
“We believe that the Federal Government needs to take steps to create a level playing field for our steel producers and stem the decline of this vital industry.”
The IBC has asked the Inquiry to endorse three strategies to secure the future of steel.
“First, we strongly believe that government suppliers should be required to meet Australian Standards for steel,” Debra Murphy said.
“Right now, our domestic producers – who meet these standards - are under pressure from foreign competitors who supply a lower quality product for a cheaper initial price.
“We are also asking the Federal Government to improve the chances for Australian steel producers by publicising the opportunities to work on public projects and reporting much more transparently on their employment, skills and technology outcomes.
“Further, the states and territories should be encouraged to use Industry Participation Agreements so that the high quality steel made by our Australian producers is used in the big public infrastructure projects that provide the roads, railways and hospitals of the future.
“Lastly, while the steel industry must remain an economic force in the Illawarra, more also needs to be done to help us develop new, emerging industries. 
“In September last year we gave the Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation, Christopher Pyne, a comprehensive plan to build entrepreneurship, boost small business research and invest in the infrastructure our region so sorely needs.
“We ask the Inquiry to urge the Federal Government to adopt this plan, which will assist the Illawarra to generate new jobs, growth and create a sustainable economic future,” Ms Murphy concluded.
Media Contact: Rebecca Burdick 0417 135 858

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