Greens MP for NSW Lee Rhiannon has welcomed the passage of the Steel Transformation Plan Bill, and with it $180 million earmarked for BlueScope, while expressing disappointment that Labor voted against a Greens amendment to highlight the Green Jobs Illawarra Action Plan.
"The Greens voted for this bill because we are committed to ensuring job security. This is a win for workers in the Illawarra region," Senator Rhiannon said.
"It's clear from visits by myself and Senator Bob Brown to the Illawarra how important this package is to an area where unemployment can be double the national average.
"I am disappointed the Labor government could not stomach voting for the Greens amendment that required funding distributed under the Steel Transformation Plan pay particular regard to the recommendations in the Green Jobs Illawarra Action Plan.
"The Labor government missed this opportunity to highlight the detailed green jobs pathways mapped out by local unions, academics, business, industry, government and education bodies.
"It is still a puzzle why AWU head Paul Howes campaigned for the government to vote against this amendment. Why would he not back a plan that his own union, as a member of the South Coast Labor Council, initiated and actively promoted?
"Mr Howes may well have put his sectional Labor interests before those of his members in the Illawarra.
"If Australia takes up the climate change challenge and rolls-out renewable energy and new electricity grid infrastructure, steel will be very much in demand," Senator Rhiannon said.