Reports this morning that Australian railways may be built using Australian steel should not come as a surprise. It is just basic common sense.  

Labor would like to see rail lines in Australia built with Australian steel. That’s a no-brainer.

What’s noteworthy about reports that the Adani project will contract Arrium to supply the 56,000 tonnes of steel for its 400-kilometre railway line is that it seems to have the backing of the Acting Prime Minister, whose Government has continually neglected Australia’s steel and manufacturing industries.   

While he is in Whyalla today, Barnaby Joyce should also commit to maximising Australian steel and Australian rolling stock for all new federally-funded rail projects and upgrades, including the Inland Rail project.

Malcolm Turnbull likes to talk about inland rail, but he never talks about buying Australian. This is a government that does nothing but talk about fixing problems, but never actually delivers any solutions.

Australia’s rail industry has 150 years of experience in quality rail design, manufacturing and maintenance.

Arrium’s OneSteel business has been at the forefront of Australian construction for over a century and was producing rail and steel products to support Australia as far back asWWI.

Australian steel producers should be given the best opportunity to participate in all Federal projects.

Labor also expects to see a detailed Australian Industry Participation plan for all major capital projects, laying out the level of local content and Australian industry engagement.

This week, as part of the Inquiry into the State of Australia’s Rail Industry, the Senate heard from local manufacturers like Lovells Springs about the superior quality of Australian-made steel compared with imported steel products.

Arrium is a world-class steel manufacturer that meets the highest standards to keep Australians safe as they ride the rails.      

If the Liberals want Australians to take them seriously, they will need to come up with more than poll-driven slogans to advance Australian manufacturing and make up for their years of neglect. 

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