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Senate asks Abbott government to save Port Kembla steel industry

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 18 Aug 2015

The Senate today has passed a Greens motion calling on the Federal government to intervene in the fate of BlueScope to save the steel industry in Port Kembla and 10 000 jobs.

Greens spokesperson for NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said: "The Senate's request for the federal government to act is about protecting existing jobs in the Illawarra while building a platform for the next generation of economic growth in the region.

"This is not just an Illawarra issue; it is a state and federal issue and the future of Port Kembla cannot be left up to BlueScope, a company that is prepared to sacrifice the strategic and economic importance of the blast furnace to fatten up its profits.

"The Abbott government needs to urgently engage with this issue and I congratulate the unionists and the Illawarra community for their campaign to save BlueScope Steelworks.

"The Abbott government should also take note of the unions' call for government procurement regulations to require that 50 per cent of the raw steel content in all state funded infrastructure projects be sourced from Australian blast furnaces.

Greens employment and industry spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said: "Tony Abbott and the government say they're all about ‘jobs, jobs, jobs'.

"Yet under the Abbott government's watch we're seeing unemployment rise and industries across the country dying.

"Right now they have the chance to back up their sloganeering with real action. Tony Abbott and the government must listen to the Senate and protect the jobs of over 10,000 people."

The Senate-notes
1. That more than 10,000 jobs are directly dependent on BlueScope Steel's operations in Port Kembla,
2. That over 20 per cent of young people in the Wollongong region between 15 and 24 years of age are unemployed and many more are under employed,
3. That the Port Kembla steel works have been the backbone of the Illawarra economy for more than 80 years,
4. That the New Steel Deal proposed by the South Coast Labour Council, AWU Port Kembla and supported by many other stakeholders in the Illawarra includes a public procurement framework mandating at least 50 per cent of Australian made steel in all federal and state infrastructure projects.
The Senate calls on the government to consider policy options, such as the New Steel Deal, and commence discussions on the future of the Port Kembla Steelworks with unions, BlueScope Steel Management, NSW State Government and other relevant stakeholders with a view to saving the steel industry in Port Kembla .
Senator Lee Rhiannon

Brami Jegan for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Adam Pulford for Adam Bandt 0429 109 054

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