The ASI has welcomed the agreement reached on 8 October between BlueScope and the unions as demonstrating collaboration as a model for moving forward. ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon described the agreement as a positive sign for one of Australia’s largest established industrial sectors. “Both the workers and BlueScope management need to be commended on facing up to what are very difficult circumstances in recognising the value of the local steel supply chain as a key employer and contributor to the Australian economy,” he said. “The industry continues to evolve and innovate to meet head-on the challenges facing the global steel industry. The Australian steel value chain has a proven record of performance when given the opportunity to compete based on through-life cost of supply.” He said that the BIS Shrapnel report released the same day is one more finding that substantiates the contribution of the local steel supply chain in terms of employment, tax receipts, responsive supply and the contribution to the nation’s skills base. “This confirms the results from the earlier Industry Capability Network report on the flow-on benefits and multiplier effect generated when the local industry is given full, fair and reasonable access to taxpayer funded infrastructure and construction spending,” he said. “That’s besides the ample capability and capacity of the local steel industry to competitively contribute on contestable project components when procurement decisions are based on more than just upfront costs. “For fair trade, there must be quality for quality comparisons, unpacking of artificially high costs for local supply and basing procurement more on through-life costs.” He said that Governments need to continue upholding this cooperative approach to meeting the industry challenge by giving serious consideration to robust Local Industry Participation Plans. “I encourage the Federal and State Governments to look closely at the recommendations of the BIS report on local content and enact policies that look beyond ‘least cost’ and bring to bear a broader cost-benefit approach that considers economic value to Australian, whole-of-life costs, including rectification, maintenance, servicing and ongoing supplier relationships.”