The ASI has welcomed the successful passage of the Labor Government’s Jobs Bill 2013 through the Senate this week only days before the Parliament was due to conclude in the lead up to the Federal election. “We have regularly received reports from our members routinely being bypassed on major projects for which they can demonstrate ample local capability and capacity,” said ASI National Manager – Industry Development, Ian Cairns. “This has usually favoured global supply chains substantially sourcing from subsidised foreign industries exerting greater influence over major project procurement opportunities.” The new legislation is applicable to all ‘major projects’ public or private throughout Australia, not just resources. It also lowers the applicability threshold for major project proponents to submit Australian Industry Participation Plans (AIPPs) to those projects worth $500 million and over, prescribes a robust new authority to administer the scheme and will bring the Government’s other local content functionalities under a single entity. “The former AIPPs framework applied to only a handful of nation building projects and whilst we advocated the threshold to be lowered to $200 million, the new framework will open the books substantially more on major projects across the country,” Mr Cairns said. He said that it was ever more crucial that fair opportunity be given to local industry to bid on new major building and infrastructure projects as the heat comes off the mining boom. “This will not just be a boon for local job opportunities, but also for helping to maintain continuity of work to retain the sector’s high skill levels. Engaging with locally-based industry operating to rigorous Australian standards also helps to shore up supply confidence and lower project risks. The local steel industry looks forward to working closer with the major project proponents on offering solutions to meet specific technical requirements and to mitigate risk. We also thank the Australian Greens party and independents who supported the bill’s passage through both houses.”