The Liberals have given up on the steel industry, today announcing that they do not support developing an Australian steel policy, responding to the Senate Economics References Committee Report: Australia’s steel industry: forging ahead, by not accepting any of the committee’s 28 recommendations.  

The inquiry received more than 45 submissions, held public hearings in Wollongong, Whyalla and Canberra and heard from 45 witnesses. 

The report recommends the Government:

  • Maximise the use of locally made steel in Commonwealth funded – not accepted by the Liberals
  • Implement policy that reduces energy costs and secures energy supply for manufacturers – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Strengthen Australia’s anti-dumping regime by ensuring it is adequately resourced; transferring responsibility for safeguards measures to the anti‑dumping commission; allowing applicants to nominate the form of duty to be applied; reforming the anti-dumping handbook; and improving access to data for companies seeking to access the system – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Improve certification processes for structural and fabricated steel and harmonise standards between jurisdictions and regulatory bodies – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Develop a confidential reporting mechanism for non-conforming building products; impose stricter penalties for non-conforming or fraudulent materials and the establishment of a public database to register these products and their origins – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Improve Australian industry participation in major projects by adequately resourcing Australia’s Industry Participation Authority; reviewing the thresholds for AIP plans and restoring the requirement for those plans to be completed during (rather than following) the tender process – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Develop an overarching steel policy – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Establish a national steel supplier advocate – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Ensure that the Commonwealth Procurement Rules are effectively implemented – not accepted by the Liberals.
  • Convene a national steel forum comprised of representatives from industry, government and other stakeholders to investigate the establishment of an industry-managed steel compliance scheme to conduct random independent conformity inspections – not accepted by the Liberals.

Labor’s steel plan, announced in Wollongong, supports our steel industry and toughens anti-dumping protections:

  • Labor will triple penalties for companies attempting to circumvent anti-dumping laws by misclassifying goods;
  • Labor will increase funding for the Anti-Dumping Commission by $3.5 million a year, meaning it is more responsive, more active and more expeditious in conducting investigations;
  • Labor will create a one-stop shop under a tougher regime to safeguard our steel, manufacturing and agricultural jobs now and into the future. 
  • Labor will ensure that more public and large private projects will be required to put plans in place to give Australian firms a chance to win work on major projects.
  • Labor will ensure Australian standards are upheld in Federal Government funded projects and support local producers meet certification standards.
  • Labor will create a national Steel Supplier Advocate and Metals Manufacturing Innovation Council.

Under Labor’s plan private projects over $250 million will have to ensure that local firms are provided with a fair opportunity to win work and not be excluded. These projects will be required to put an Australian Industry Participation plan in place, opening up access to new opportunities including in mining, rail, road and energy.

Labor will maximise the use of Australian steel through standards and AIP plans.

Labor will back local businesses by working with industry groups to make our businesses stronger, and able to win contracts at home and abroad.

We will appoint supplier advocates in key sectors like rail and steel to open up new opportunities for jobs. Labor will work with a revamped enterprise connect and industry capability network to keep Australian firms strong.

It has taken the Liberals twelve long months to say no to supporting our steel industry.