Govt working with Illawarra community on steel future
Australian Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane has called a September 2015 meeting of key stakeholders in Wollongong to discuss a long-term economic strategy for the region.
Meeting attendees will include the NSW Government, local federal MPs, BlueScope Steel, workers, unions, the local council, the business community and Wollongong university.
"The Australian Government understands the concerns of the Illawarra and wider community about the future of steel production at Port Kembla and its impact on jobs, and recognises that the steel industry is an important contributor to both the Illawarra and the national economy," Macfarlane said.
"While BlueScope Steel has outlined the serious challenges it is facing to maintain international competitiveness, these are challenges that all Australian businesses must face when trading in international markets.
"The Australian Government is working with industry sectors to set the right economic environment to maximise competitiveness for Australian industry, including by ensuring businesses aren't burdened with excessive red and green tape or regulation.
"Australian businesses are developing new opportunities in sophisticated, high-value-add industries that feed into global supply chains. The Australian steel industry has a strong future following this new direction, by enhancing international competitiveness and building new connections with research and science.
"BlueScope Steel has said that the removal of the carbon tax and the Australian Government's ongoing programme to cut red and green tape, as well as the Government's exemption from the RET for emissions intensive trade exposed industries, have all helped increase its competitiveness.
"The Government is committed to fostering an environment where Australian businesses have an opportunity to bid for work on Australian projects and major Government procurement contracts. The Government supports an open market economy as the best way to generate investment and employment.
"We will work with all stakeholders in the Illawarra on a constructive approach to discuss BlueScope's future and a strategy for long-term economic development and jobs growth in the region."
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