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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4104


Mr WILLIAMS (Hindmarsh) (12:02): I rise today to speak on this motion in support of my colleague the member for Grey and the positive initiatives the government has undertaken to help the steel industry and, in particular, the people of Whyalla. As the member for Grey said, the initiative to build 1,200 kilometres of rail from Adelaide to Tarcoola and to bring forward a contract to help Whyalla and, in particular, the people working at Arrium is a massive announcement. Everyone has people connected with Arrium and people working in Whyalla. We know they are going through some difficult times and we know there are challenges there, but they also recognise the work that we are doing. When I am at shopping centres or throughout my electorate, I have people from the member for Grey's electorate who come up to me and say: 'I don't live in your electorate. I live in the Yorke Peninsula or the Eyre Peninsula and Rowan Ramsey, the member for Grey, is doing a great job. He is fighting hard for our jobs, he is fighting hard for our future and he is fighting hard for Arrium.' They say that with sincerity. They know he is doing the best he can and they also know that this government is taking specific steps to help the people of Arrium and Whyalla.

The member for Grey was going to talk, in particular, about the Anti-Dumping Commission, so I will continue on another point that the government has made. Local steel manufacturers will now have a better opportunity to compete on a level playing field after the government accepted two Anti-Dumping Commission recommendations to impose dumping duties on Chinese-made steel reinforcing bar and rod core imported into Australia. These anti-dumping decisions have ensured that Australian steel manufacturers can compete on even ground in the local market with imports from other countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan. The Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, said that these decisions are another step that we have taken to help local producers, whether in Wollongong at BlueScope or at Arrium in Whyalla. In amongst this, there have been a whole lot of initiatives over the last year or so that we have taken to help Australian industries compete in global markets: the $50 million Manufacturing Transition Program, the $225 million Industry Growth Centres Initiative, the Industry Skills Fund that helps companies upskill their employees—$664 million over five years—and scrapping the carbon tax, which is so important to reduce costs for businesses.

The matters raised by Arrium creditors are not ones that any government—be it local, state or federal—can address through drastic intervention. We know from the international steel market—and the member for Wakefield, being the learned man that he is, would realise this that Port Talbot in the United Kingdom, in Wales, is suffering the exact same challenges that Arrium does in Whyalla—that the UK steel industry, among others right around the world, have the same challenges in terms of lower prices and an oversupply of steel. So Arrium has challenges, as others have. The federal government will also work with the South Australian government.

Mr Champion interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Wicks ): Order! I warn the member for Wakefield.

Mr WILLIAMS: In that respect, all of us together want to get the right outcome for the people of Whyalla.

I just want to finish on a massive decision that was announced last week and that the member for Wakefield should be very proud of, and also the member for Throsby—I mentioned it to him last week when we ran into each other—about using Australian steel in shipbuilding projects. We have $90 billion of shipbuilding projects in Australia over the decades to come, whether it be patrol vessels, frigates or submarines. Last week, the government and Malcolm Turnbull made it clear that we will look at using Australian steel in these projects. This is a welcome initiative and something that I have raised with the industry minister and the defence minister. I know that it is an area that my colleague Rowan Ramsey, the member for Grey, like many South Australian members of parliament, has fought hard on—to get the best result for Australia and the best outcome for South Australia on defence shipbuilding. I can see the member for Wakefield smiling and saying, 'Well done, South Australian Liberal MPs!' You knew that we fought hard and got a great result for that, and so do the people of South Australia. Now, whether it is submarines or frigates, Australian products will be used and Australian suppliers will be beneficiaries. In terms of the amount, it is like a Royal Adelaide Hospital being built every year for the next 45 years. That is how big these defence shipbuilding announcements are for Australia. The Royal Adelaide Hospital was a massive project in South Australia. It is like one of them being built in the next 45 years. Just imagine that. And the South Australian people, quite rightly, are rejoicing in this great announcement, where there will be more Australian steel, more Australian suppliers and more work for Australians. It is another great federal government initiative.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before I call the member for Throsby, I do wish to indicate to the member for Wakefield that you have been warned. On the next occasion, I will need to use standing order 187.