Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones welcomed BlueScope’s announcement that they will continue to make steel at Port Kembla subject to ratification of the new Enterprise Agreements.
Local BlueScope workers have shown real leadership – sacrificing jobs, wages and conditions - but it is now time for the Turnbull Liberal Government to step up and guarantee the long-term future of steel making in the Illawarra.
Since promising more than six weeks ago that they were working on something that would “…make a massive difference to the region” the Turnbull Liberal Government has been silent
As outlined in previous plans put to the Abbott and Turnbull Governments by Sharon Bird, Stephen Jones and reinforced by Bill Shorten last week, the Government needs to immediately refer issues related to dumped sub-cost steel into Australia to the Anti-Dumping Commission and ensure that the government leads by example and works with Australian steel producers and their supply chains to ensure we maximise the use of Australian steel in government funded infrastructure projects.
Malcolm Turnbull also needs to ensure that the urgent needs of the 500 retrenched workers and their families are addressed by immediately reinstating the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator to help retrenched workers to retrain or find alternative employment.
The Turnbull Liberal Government also needs to guarantee they will not repeal or weaken the Australian Jobs Act, locate local entrepreneur advisers in the region to help local businesses improve their competitiveness and also help the Illawarra to take advantage of industries that are growing though the NBN.
The announcement is a significant relief to everyone in the region, now the Turnbull Liberal Government needs to show its commitment to our region – backing steelmaking into the future and assisting with continued economic diversification.
They have had nothing to say since former Minister Ian Macfarlane convened a roundtable and made promises. Now is the time to step up.