The ASI has welcomed measures announced on 17 February to secure more work for Australian industry on major projects, urging the changes to be legislated as soon as possible. The measures involving greater support and onus for the use of Australian Industry Participation Plans (AIPPs) were announced jointly by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet as part of their Industry and Innovation Statement. The policy Statement broadens the onus for AIPPs to all major private and public projects worth over $500 million and for those worth $2 billion or more that apply for taxpayer funded concessions under the Enhanced Project By-Law Scheme to involve Australian Industry Opportunity officers in their procurement. ASI Chief Executive, Don McDonald said the steel industry supported the greater requirements to spread work opportunities for major projects much further across the supply chain, although considers the threshold for AIPPs to be required as too high. “It would be better for AIPPs to apply to projects worth over $300 million to open more opportunities in major projects where local industry is routinely bypassed,” he said. “We also welcome the establishment of an Australian Industry Participation Authority as outlined in the Statement to administer greater use of AIPPs and engagement with local industry. “However we would like to see it operate in tandem with some form of industry working group comprising representatives from industry, unions, associations and the research community similar to the Manufacturing Taskforce consulted for the current Statement. This would create better communication back to industry on the strengthened AIPP process.” He said that the ASI also supported some changes signaled in the Statement to help manufacturing business further down the supply chain to encourage investment, market development and innovation for SMEs. “The Statement signals a better alignment of policy priorities aimed at supporting our country’s strategic industries and skills,” Mr McDonald said. “To be effective, AIPPs must be transparent, rigorous, enforceable and detailed, and they must include contestable supply items including steel. “We look forward to working with the Government in the months ahead to ensure that these policy initiatives deliver real jobs on the ground for the steel industry.”