The ASI has written to candidates from all sides of politics contesting electorates with a substantial steel industry presence to support a set of recommended industry enhancing policy commitments.

ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said it had identified four reasonable areas its members believe vital for the ongoing health of the domestic steel industry.

“The Australian steel value chain is facing significant headwinds and the ASI believes that bipartisan recognition of the importance of a domestic industry along with sensible policies that demonstrate this, while at the same time meeting our international obligations, are critical to the long term health of the industry,” Mr Dixon said.

He said its policy prescriptions address the value of taking more advantage of the flow-on economic benefits of engaging the local industry, tempering efforts to ward off unfair trade practices by overseas competitors and strengthening adherence to established Australian standards.

“Our message is consistent to all sides of politics that there are more tangible ways of enhancing the strength of the local steel industry well within Australia’s trade obligations and that upholding local industry standards when specifying steel lowers project risks,” he said.

Its first recommendation is for augmenting procurement rules relating to steel established under section 105B of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 to require steel and steelwork to be independently verified through established certification schemes.

The second calls for national policymakers to introduce a procurement requirement that considers national economic benefits from local steel and to provide a specific weighting for that in tender processes.

The third relates to ensuring adequate Government resources so that the full intent the Australian Jobs Act 2013 is honoured to ensure that the local industry is actually accorded full, fair and reasonable opportunity to bid on major projects and that the extent of local engagement is transparent.

The fourth recommends ways Australia’s anti-dumping system can provide more effective defence against unfair trade to Australian manufacturers in line with international best practice.

The ASI is expecting conformation of individual candidates’ positions soon.

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