The ASI has welcomed the findings of the two-year national Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry released on Friday and urges that its clear recommendations be made real by the Australian Government revising appropriate policy settings and guidelines without delay.
ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said that submissions from a wide range of stakeholder groups across the public and private sectors confirmed broad recognition of the issues hindering the Australian steel sector, such as inconsistent application of standards, unfair and dishonest dumping practices and short-sighted public procurement decisions.
“This major investigation into the viability of the local steel industry confirmed that the issues that we have been confronting for too long are still very real, but the ultimate value of this work will be in going beyond the words to honour the spirit of its findings by enacting its key recommendations,” he said.
He said that one of the themes emerging from the Inquiry is the patchwork of insistent policy settings and guidelines between the various State and Territory jurisdictions that have not only undermined the nation’s energy security, but also created holes in procurement policy and standards compliance.
“While there are comprehensive established Australian standards covering steelmaking and steel-working activities, we particularly welcome key recommendations from the Inquiry to investigate mandating of independent verification to those standards, working with the various jurisdictions to harmonise standards requirements and look to establishing secure avenues to report non-conforming steel products,” Mr Dixon said.
He said the ASI also welcomed the Inquiry’s recognition that more can be done to ensure the economic enhancing value of engaging with the local steel supply chain.
“We welcome its recommendations to re-establish a steel industry advocate to help link the local sector with opportunities better as they emerge and a wider application of Local Industry Participation Plans to engage further across the supply chain,” he said.
“Particularly pleasing is that the Inquiry not only recognised the whole-of-life economic value of using Australian steel, but also its environmental sustainable contribution too by recommending Commonwealth agencies look at evaluating the whole-of-life environmental sustainability in procurement decisions.
“The changes should all be framed under an overarching national steel policy, which was one of the Inquiry Report’s key recommendations of the 28 offered.”