The ASI has welcomed Labor Party recognition of Australian metals manufacturing as s strategic national industry with a six-point plan to take to the forthcoming Federal election.

ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said that the plan demonstrates that they have heard the industry, recognising the issues the local steel sector is confronting and embracing a number of the key recommendations the ASI had made in its recent representations and submissions to policymakers.

“The range and breadth of measures outlined in the six-point plan, many of which are in our submission to the Senate Inquiry into the steel industry, indicate that they have been listening to our concerns with specific recommendations based on the industry’s own experience working through the issues,” he said.

“We are particularly pleased that product quality and safety underline the plan, not just undertaking to ensure government-funded projects use steel that meets rigorous standards for safety and quality, but also to cover the cost of certification for local industry.

“Procurement policy outlined in the plan would recognise the flow-on value of engaging with local industry, introducing a renewed reporting system to ‘maximise’ the use of Australian steel in government-funded projects as well as re-invigorating the local industry participation plan (AIPP) framework.

“Its commitment to also double funding for the Australian Industry Participation Authority and halving the threshold under which private sector projects need to submit Local Industry Participation Plans down to $250 million is also a welcome modification in the plan.”

For public sector projects, the threshold would be dropped from $20 million to $10 million.

These initiatives take a significant step towards acknowledging a policy of ‘competitive neutrality’ in procurement and recognise the economic and social benefits of the local supply chain.

We also acknowledge that stronger anti-dumping policy and the implementation of it will be a key activity going forward.

“The ASI supports all the measures in Labor’s six-point plan and is confident that they do not breach any of our international trade obligations,” Mr Dixon said.