ABC NORTH AND WEST SA
FRIDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2017
SUBJECTS: LIBERTY ALLIANCE TAKES OVER WHYALLA STEEL PLANT,
PRESENTER: Today is a good day for the region, as the handover of the steelworks to the Liberty Alliance occurs. A whole lot of politicians are in the region for the handover, and one of them is Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. Good morning.
SENATOR KIM CARR: Good morning.
PRESENTER: Are you taking any credit this morning?
CARR: Oh, I have been very closely involved in the process. I am very pleased with the outcome. I think it provides a certainty for the city of Whyalla, and certainty for the workers across the entire company. It provides greater opportunity for Australia insofar as it secures our steel industry.
This is an strategically important industry in terms of Australia’s manufacturing capability. It’s an extremely important part of our industrial base and therefore it’s important that the Commonwealth take a very keen interest in the development of the Liberty alliance work.
I am very pleased that Liberty has such a strong plan for re-investment and the commitment to provide an employment guarantee and the opportunities for massive export growth for a basic metal production.
PRESENTER: It’s almost universally accepted as a good result for Whyalla and a lot of positive things being said by various politicians and stake holders about each other. Do you think there is a lesson here in terms of different governments and different people from different sides of politics working together for the betterment of community?
CARR: Well of course there is, there is a great merit in defending this community. We’ve got to ensure that the workers are able to look with certainty to the political system. Too often we’ve seen in this country that working people have lost confidence because there is not been the level of commitment from Governments to the importance of manufacturing and the critical role that manufacturing plays to the prosperity of Australia.
Now from the Labor Party’s point of view, we want to see that change. I know that the Government of South Australia is committed to ensuring the prosperity of communities such as this in Whyalla and I know that this is a position that the Labor Party takes in Canberra.
Bill Shorten is committed to ensure that we pursue the high-quality, high-skill, high-paying jobs that we need to secure the future of Australia. And I am therefore looking forward to working with Liberty and to ensure that we are able to sustain our base industries, making sure that we have antiquate energy supplies to secure the essential ingredients that we need to ensure that these industries are successful in the future.
PRESENTER: Well talking about electricity supplies, Sanjeev Gupta, the head of GFG Alliance has talked about his interest in getting renewable energy projects up around the region, not only to power his works but other places as well. How do you see that in terms of captains of industry and other business leaders taking the lead in manufacturing to get projects like that off the ground?
CARR: Well I think that there are opportunities that arise within industry. People that I speak to all the time talk to me about the importance of base load as an electricity supply. They understand that it is important to ensure that we have renewables but also baseload electricity supply so that plants can run 24 hours a day and not rely upon the weather. They need power generation capabilities to be able to secure production into the future.
Now I’m impressed with the proposals in regards to renewable energies in regards to Whyalla. But there are alternatives as well, we are seeing a number of other opportunities emerging across the country, so it’s important in terms of our aluminium smelters that we are able to secure our electricity supplies.
That’s why I’m concerned that the Government in Canberra is not really understanding how important it is that we have energy targets to provide certainty for the investment that’s needed so that we can have an industrial based economy.
We simply can’t have a situation where people say: “Oh we will fix up our environmental problems by reindustrialising the economy”.
We’re not up for that. This country doesn’t need to do that, we can ensure that we have proper transition and ensure that we meet our international obligations without destroying our basic industries.
PRESENTER: All right, just quickly, yesterday the AEC said that South Australia would lose a House of Representatives seat. Victoria and New South Wales [sic] both would gain one, and some commentary suggesting that Labor would very much benefit from that. Victoria is your state, is this a boom for Labor?
CARR: Well, there’s no doubt that what we’re seeing is a massive growth in the population. You know it’s a tragedy that we’ve seen the destruction of automotive manufacturing industry in South Australia. The Liberal Party has a lot to answer for in that regard. You can understand why people are feeling the pinch in that area, I know that in Victoria where …
PRESENTER: Oh, we’ve seem to have lost the Senator there. We’ve lost the Senator, apologies for that. Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.