In the event that the federal or state governments move towards more severe lock-down scenarios to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) which is the peak industry body representing the entire steel industry value chain including major producer members BlueScope Steel, InfraBuild Steel, Molycop and Bisalloy, together with the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) recommend that the steel industry is classified as essential.
The ASI and AWU urge all Australian governments to keep the steel industry operational.
Steel is a high capital cost industry with low people density and high value.
The steel industry already practices very high standards of hygiene to protect all employees from routine work health and safety risks. These practices have been galvanised and heighted since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian steel industry is more than willing to play its part in containing COVID-19. Australian steel manufacturers have already introduced the following measures to protect their employees:
With measures in place to protect the health and safety of employees and help contain the spread of COVID-19, there are several clear reasons that necessitate keeping the steel industry operational:
Closing down Australia’s blast furnaces, even temporarily, could result in a permanent closure of Australia’s steel industry, compromising our national sovereignty in a geopolitically volatile time.
If critical elements of Australia’s steel supply chain were to go into compulsory lock-down, the entire industry may not be in a position to recommence operations for many months—possibly years— after the immediate health crisis has subsided.
The ASI and AWU call on all Australian governments to classify the steel industry as ‘essential’ and allow the industry to remain operational.
Joint Statement (PDF)