The Liberals must immediately release the Anti-Dumping Commission’s report into the impact of overseas steel makers in the Australian market.
The report was handed to Government on 4 April 2016 and since then the Liberals have done nothing but sit on the report.
Australia does not have time to waste when it comes to securing the future of our steel industry.
Expert advice of this nature should be made public and enacted as soon as possible, especially given local steel makers are feeling the pressure from imported steel products that have been dumped onto the Australian market.
Dumping is a serious issue, particularly for the steel industry.
Evidence presented by the Anti-Dumping Commission to the Senate inquiry on the future of Australia’s steel industry suggests that 75 per cent of Arrium’s steel product is subject to preliminary or final anti-dumping determinations.
Given the magnitude of the crisis, and the need to get Australian steel manufacturers back on a sustainable footing, you’d think the Liberals would be motivated to act more swiftly instead of twiddling their thumbs.
Statements in recent weeks from Arrium’s administrator, rebuffing the Turnbull Government’s sole proposal of a loan for the Whyalla steelworks, are a damning indictment of the Liberal’s industry policy.
These fresh calls for real assistance come as new Industry Minister, Greg Hunt, says he is “raising the drawbridge” on government support for struggling industries.
While new to the job, Mr Hunt has no excuse for talking down Australian industry and undermining investment confidence.
Labor took a package of measures to the election to defend Australia’s steel industry and assist with the restructure and sale of Arrium.
We stand ready to work with the State and Federal Governments, company administrators, workers and unions, to ensure the future sustainability of the steelworks.
Mr Hunt’s statements on industry assistance – at this crucial juncture for the future of steel production in Australia – echo those of the Abbott-Hockey era, which saw Australia’s last remaining motor vehicle producers goaded into shutting down their manufacturing operations.
If Australian steel production is allowed to go the same way as motor vehicle production, it could be the deathblow to Australia’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.
If they are serious about jobs, Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt must get serious about defending Australian steel – before it is too late.