Being an advanced economy that can make things here at home means ensuring Australia’s strategic industries have a sustainable future.
To secure the long-term future of our local metal industries, we need to make smart use of the opportunities in front of us and build on Australia’s natural strengths.
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a new plan to secure our strategically significant metals manufacturing industries, starting with Australia's steel industry.
Labor’s six-point Plan for Australian Metals Manufacturing and Jobs demonstrates Labor’s commitment to a strong future for Australia’s metal industries.
Under our six-point plan, Labor will:
1. Ensure Australian standards are upheld in Federal Government funded projects
We will introduce new steel procurement regulations that require projects receiving government funding to use steel that meets Australian standards and certification requirements. These regulations will be developed in a way that is consistent with our international obligations, and adherence to them will be verified and monitored with rigorous third party audits. Where there is currently no relevant Australian standard, these will be developed in consultation with industry and Standards Australia.
2. Seek to maximise the use of locally-produced steel in Federal Government funded projects
We will ensure local steel producers have the best opportunity to participate in federal projects through the enhanced use of Australian Industry Participation Plans and the rigorous application of Australian standards.
3. Halve the thresholds for projects required to have an Australian Industry Participation Plan to drive more opportunities for local businesses
Under Labor’s Australian Jobs Act, major public and private projects with capital expenditure above certain thresholds must prepare and implement an Australian Industry Participation (AIP) plan. These plans ensure information about opportunities to bid for work on major projects is made available at all levels of the supply chain.
Labor will halve the threshold for private projects to prepare an AIP Plan from $500 million to $250 million. We will also halve the public sector threshold from $20 million to $10 million.
4. Double funding for the Australian Industry Participation Authority and appoint an Australian Industry Participation Board
Labor set up the AIP Authority to advise and assist those developing major projects in meeting their obligations under the Australian Jobs Act. The Authority’s role includes evaluating, approving and publishing summaries of Australian Industry Participation plans, as well as monitoring and reporting on the implementation of these plans.
5. Ensure Australia’s anti-dumping system has the right powers and penalties in place
Labor will make sure Australia’s anti-dumping system is operating effectively and will work with the Anti-Dumping Commission to accelerate enhancements to the system.
6. Create a National Steel Supplier Advocate
The National Steel Supplier Advocate will work with Australian steel manufacturers to win major contracts. The Steel Supplier Advocate will particularly work with small and medium sized steel fabricators to generate the kind of consortia and co-production deals that will allow them to deliver products at scale and in more competitive ways.
Labor will start delivering our Plan for Australian Metals Manufacturing and Jobs within 100 days of forming office, with the establishment of the Metals Manufacturing Innovation Council.
Labor has developed our plan by listening to industry and being willing to act on the practical challenges holding our metal industries back. We’re not just talking about keeping these industries strong for the future; we’re acting to make sure they can be.