The ASI has welcomed the announcement about the Port Kembla mill continuing as a clear signal of faith in the future of the steel industry, but that stronger government local content policies are required to realise the flow-on economic benefits across the country. A recent BIS Shrapnel report indicated that there was only 49 percent of local steel used in taxpayer publicly funded projects. They continued to say that if we had better local content policies the local steel share could go as high as 90 percent, which would greatly support the two main steelmakers and the steel channel that relies on their products. ASI Chief Executive, Tony Dixon said that Federal and State Governments need to have stronger and more workable local industry participation policies in place to ensure local content is maximised in major projects.The ASI is calling for the Federal Government to ensure that all States have robust local content policies before any taxpayer funds are given to the States for public projects. “Policies need to be in place with clear criteria set as to who is responsible (which Minister), when they are applicable, how they are applied and supported by measures to ensure Government procurement and project proponents adhere to them. “There should also be feet on the ground to make sure claims made by tenderers and project proponents about local industry engagement are scrutinised for validity. “And procurement decisions should be made on fuller criteria than simply the cheapest price.” He said that for fairer trade, there must be quality for quality comparisons, unpacking of artificially high costs for local supply and basing procurement more on through-life costs. “It would be a shame if the faith shown in the future of the industry by management and staff at BlueScope and the unions through their substantial sacrifices recently is not reinforced by a more collaborative and structured approach by the Government going forward,” Mr Dixon said. “The industry stands ready to work closer with the State and Federal Government to help ensure its longer term contribution to the economy.”