Local industry is concerned that with just a few months to go before the next State election in Western Australia, whilst the first term of the Barnett Government has reviewed its local industry participation policies there’s still been no action plan or real Government commitment to local content. The ASI as the peak body representing the complete local steel supply chain has raised concern that despite the State Premier’s pledges to champion local industry, factories in the manufacturing hub of Kwinana and elsewhere in the State continue to struggle well below capacity. ASI’s own figures show that less than 10 percent of steel for new construction in the resources sector is currently Australian-made. This is simply not good enough when steel fabricators in the Kwinana industrial strip have idle capacity and with the area’s youth unemployment stalled at 26.4 percent. ASI Chief Executive, Don McDonald said that whilst local industry supported the sentiments expressed in the WA Government’s Local Industry Participation Framework, it does not appear to be underpinned by any substantive administrative or policy structure. “It is a good document with lots of nice words, but lacks the necessary Government commitment to implement and create steel-intensive jobs,” he said. Point 4 in the Government’s Framework flagged projects exhibiting characteristics such as high value and significant levels of contestable content as a priority for greater use of Industry Participation Plans “giving greater focus to procurement methodology and the reporting of outcomes”. “We ask the Government to show us where a strategic project has been identified in the past 12 months and where measurable gains have been made in steel or heavy engineering because we are not aware of any,” Mr McDonald said. “With the continued pipeline of work in WA now we should have at least six strategic projects identified and working through the guidelines of the framework as originally intended. “Western Australia’s major project potential into the future is very strong and we have the capacity in Kwinana and around the State to do much more than we are. The time for action is now so let’s not make the same mistakes as we have in the past few years with many opportunities being missed to local industry. “We call on Premier Barnett and the State Minister for Finance, Commerce and Small Business, Simon O’Brien to drive results from their Local Industry Participation Framework and work with proponents and the steel industry to turn it into much needed activity for Kwinana and greater WA steel industry.”