The ASI has welcomed the opportunity offered by NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Hon Victor Dominello MP at yesterday’s Steel Forum to ensure public procurement of steelwork optimises economic benefit for the State and mitigates project risks.

The Forum held in Wollongong was convened by Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward MP to bring together key stakeholders from industry and professional bodies, trade unions and local business.

The Minister invited the ASI to continue to work with NSW Procurement over the coming month to develop policy recommendations.

The ASI will look to address the three primary pillars of realising broad economic benefits, establishing a verifiable quality benchmark and respecting environmental sustainability principles.

ASI National Manager – Industry Development, Ian Cairns who spoke at the Forum, said the Institute looks forward to working with the Government to establish equitable and workable solutions.

“We were more than happy with the robust discussions and various ideas put forward at the Forum providing greater impetus to move forward,” Mr Cairns said.

“Representing the complete steel supply chain from the steel mills and distributors, professional design community and fabricators through to the finishing trades, we are well positioned to provide input that recognises current industrial realities and challenges.”

He said the ASI supports free and fair trade that takes a more sophisticated view of procurement recognising broader economic benefits in terms of enhanced job opportunities and skills rendition with the State and based on the principle of competitive neutrality.

“Fair trade means taking account of additional regulatory and other costs incurred by the local industry when assessing bids for ‘like for like’ comparisons to be made,” he said.

“It is also important that procurement plays its part in managing potential project risks through adherence to established quality standards.

“We stand ready to work with the Government in the spirit of mutual cooperation to ensure that a policy is developed to ensure the local steel supply chain is able to compete on a free and fair basis.”