NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay is urging the State Government to use local steel to build major infrastructure projects like the Western Sydney Airport, M12 and recently ‘fast-tracked’ projects.
Ms McKay visited BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla with Illawarra MPs Ryan Park, Paul Scully and Anna Watson to discuss Labor’s NSW Made campaign.
Each year the NSW Government spends over $34 billion on taxpayer-funded contracts. Instead of investing in local jobs and suppliers such as BlueScope, the Government has used taxpayer funds to purchase:
- Imported steel for the International Convention Centre and Sydney Metro
- Ferries from China and Indonesia
- Buses from Malaysia
- Trains from South Korea and China
- Metro cars from India
- Light rail vehicles from France and Spain
Ms McKay said: “If the NSW Government is going to spend taxpayers’ money it should be to support NSW businesses and create NSW jobs, particularly during a recession.
“Supporting local business, industry and creating local jobs is critical to drive economic recovery.
“There’s no reason why the Illawarra can’t provide the steel backbone of our State’s infrastructure. The NSW Government should be buying local, NSW made steel.”
Labor will introduce legislation to boost NSW jobs by ensuring local workers and businesses are given priority on major projects including roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
Labor Shadow Minister for the Illawarra and local MP Ryan Park said: “Rather than using foreign steel, it makes sense to buy steel made in NSW. For every local steel industry worker employed, an additional six workers are supported in related industries. Labor’s plan would benefit the Illawarra and NSW.”
The Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Paul Scully, whose Wollongong electorate includes the Port Kembla steelworks, said using more locally produced steel would provide immediate benefits.
“In Australia we mine our resources, send them offshore to be processed and buy them back for a higher price. But we already make steel in the Illawarra. Let’s cut out the middleman, create more Australian jobs and use Australian steel to build NSW.
“For every $1 million of steel bought from NSW around $1.87 million is added to our economy and it supports up to 16 full-time equivalent employees. It’s madness that the NSW Government keeps using imported steel and offshoring major infrastructure projects.”
Labor Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said: “Most people would be shocked to know that major NSW Government projects, along with most of the wind turbines and solar panels that are generating energy in NSW, are mostly made from imported steel.
“We have a local steel industry that not only produces high quality products, but also reduces its environmental footprint by using recycled water, recycled steel and renewable energy during production.”