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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13263

Steel Industry

Mr RAMSEY (Grey) (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Minister, I know you are aware that last week Arrium OneSteel announced the loss of a further 250 jobs at the Whyalla steelworks and that the company is currently undertaking a strategic review of operations. I know also that you met recently with Arrium representatives. Minister, are you confident that the steel industry and Whyalla can be maintained and strengthened, and is this an area where you believe government policy could assist in maintaining this vital industry for Whyalla and for Australia?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (14:54): I thank the member for Grey for his question. I know that he is working very closely with his local community, business leaders, civic leaders and those affected by the issues surrounding Arrium in Whyalla to bring about a good outcome for them, to create new industries and jobs throughout the iron triangle in his electorate. He asked me whether I think there is a future for the steel industry in Australia, and I think the answer to that is: yes, there is. What happened at BlueScope in the Illawarra indicates that businesses that work with their workforces and with the unions, that find new markets, that show that they can reduce their own costs through management practices and with the support of state governments—in the case of BlueScope Steel in the Illawarra, a payroll tax holiday provided by the Baird government—they are all pointers to what can be done to maintain industries like the steel industry while we are going through this period where there is a glut of steel in the international market because of the output of countries like China.

What Australia is doing to support the steel industry and jobs in Whyalla and elsewhere is manifold. We are reforming the Anti-Dumping Commission. We are trying to ensure that the Anti-Dumping Commission sees its role as protecting Australian businesses from being injured by behaviour of overseas companies. We are doing that by truncating their activities to make them as fast as possible. They are world's best practice, and we think they can be better than world's best practice, showing the rest of the world how to go. We are putting more resources into the Anti-Dumping Commission and we are cracking down on non-cooperative exporters who previously have been allowed to get away with thumbing their nose at Anti-Dumping Commission decisions and determinations. We are making the appeal process faster and working with business through the Anti-Dumping Commission to show business how to use the processes of the ADC rather than leaving them to their own devices.

We are also, through the ministerial council of industry ministers, reviewing our procurement policies of government, whether it is South Australia, Victoria or the national government, to see how we can best use our procurement policies to support Australian businesses first and foremost while remaining within our World Trade Organization obligations, and through a number of different measures the taxpayers of Australia are supporting Australian businesses in finding export markets, in transitioning from old manufacturing to advanced manufacturing. I was recently down in Geelong, last Friday, announcing round 3 of the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund. Through things like the next generation— (Time expired)