The ASI is urging Government to work more closely with the local steel sector to generate benefits across the supply chain after the country’s two main steelmakers flagged further cost efficiencies in their full year results reporting over the past week. The ASI is calling on State and Federal governments to do all they can to ensure full, fair and reasonable opportunity is afforded locally milled steel for benefits to flow throughout the supply chain. “It makes abundant sense to ensure that procurement engages locally from the very start of the supply chain so that benefits can reach the spread of trades that contribute to robust supply,” said ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon. He said that that steel supply chain encompasses steel distributors, roll-formers, fabricators, shop detailers, paint shops and galvanizers, as well as professional engineering and design practices. “The continuation of a strong and vital industry is best assured when Government and industry work cooperatively as embracing established capability is in the national interest,” he said. “And the best place to start would be by listening to the policy concerns of the steel sector and take an active interest in the steps it is taking to keep as competitive as possible.” He said the ASI has a clear structured prescription of measures for preserving the viability of the local industry based on what has worked in particular jurisdictions. “All major Government projects should be required to have an Industry Participation Plan (IPP) in place similar to the Victorian model which includes ‘strategic projects’ where the Government can stipulate levels of local content in a project or specific sectors or specific items to support local jobs and industry,” Mr Dixon said. “The IPPs should include information about the capability of local industry to supply a project, ensure early engagement with domestic industry, provide full, fair and reasonable opportunity for local industry to bid for projects and ensure that procurement decisions are made according to a broad range of criteria. “That criteria should go beyond up-front price to include factors such as quality, whole of life costs, contribution to local employment and skills, contribution to taxation revenue and other benefits to the domestic economy. “A dedicated Industry Participation Advocate also should be appointed; similar to the South Australian model, who can coordinate the engagement of local industry and maximise local content in Government spends.”