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Kwinana businesses 'steel' for tough times.

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Special Minister of State Senator for Western Australia


E42/00 Sound Telegraph Exclusive 1 September 2000

Kwinana Businesses ‘Steel’ for Tough Times Senator for Western Australia, Chris Ellison, recently met with key representatives from local steel fabrication manufacturing businesses in Rockingham.

The range of discussion included the influence of global multinationals, local content in steel fabrication, availability of skilled workers such as welders and boilermakers and apprenticeships opportunities.

The meeting, convened by the South Coast Region Chamber of Commerce was attended by representatives of Novacoat, Chemproc, Industrial Galvanisors, Pacific Industrial Co, AusClad, Tubmakers and the Australian Institute of Steel Construction.

"The meeting has opened a constructive dialogue between local manufacturers and the Commonwealth.," Senator Ellison said.

"Possible opportunities to promote West Australian fabricated steel products, through increased export markets and establishing alliances between small suppliers to maximise tender opportunities, was discussed with industry representatives".

The meeting was Senator Ellison’s second with local steel fabrication businesses, with further liaison planned.

Senator Ellison also said the Commonwealth was keen to offer support to local manufacturers and citied the Export Market Development Grants Scheme as a possible source of funding.

"Grants of up to $120,000 are available to small and medium sized enterprises or industry associations to offset the promotional costs of establishing export markets."

"Other possible sources of Commonwealth support included New Apprenticeships, now at record levels, which offered employers incentives of around $1375 per trainee, as well as payroll and workers compensation exemption in some states."

At the meeting, industry representatives expressed some concern regarding imported steel fabrication supplies, which they estimated at about 25% of the total market. The example of a fertiliser plant currently being built on Rockingham Road, Kwinana was cited as an example of lack of local content opportunities.

Senator Ellison pointed out that while governments cannot control private companies and investors, he was aware that all State and Territory Industry Ministers had recently agreed to a substantial action plan covering innovation, investment, Action Agendas and most importantly Australian participation in major projects.

"A key goal of the Commonwealth Government is to see small and medium sized businesses benefit from agreements to maximising Australian participation in major public and private sector projects."

John Talbert, Executive Director, the South Coast Regional Chamber of Commerce, confirmed the value of these forums where members can meet with senior Government Ministers and voice their concerns. "The Chamber warmly thanks Senator Ellison for his prompt support," he said.

Media Inquiries: Nicole Johnston, Senator Ellison’s Office, 02 6277 7600 John Talbert, South Coast Region Chamber of Commerce, 08 9592 3333

Kristy Hanlon, for Australian Insitute of Steel Construction, 08 9388 2977