Illawarra State Labor MPs have slammed the Liberal Party for using tricky Parliamentary tactics to avoid a vote on the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 on the floor of the Legislative Assembly this morning labelling the move a ‘kick in the guts’ for the region’s steel workers.
The MPs also condemned the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast and Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward MP, for hypocritically supporting the mandated use of ethanol but not the minimum 90 per cent use of Australian-made steel produced in the Illawarra.
The Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 has three main objectives:
Mandating the use of at least 90 per cent Australian-made steel in all publicly funded infrastructure across New South Wales;
Appoint a NSW Steel Industry Advocate to monitor and ensure compliance with the Australian Standard and certification of Australian made steel use, and
Locate the NSW Steel Industry Advocate in the Illawarra.
The Steel industry Protection Bill 2016 achieved the support of all minor political parties in the Legislative Council and passed that House in August 2016.
The Bill also attracted the widespread support of the Illawarra trade union movement and community, including the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the South Coast Labour Council as well as local employers.
Labor MPs said today’s lapse of the Bill would not stop the campaign to ensure a secure and sustainable steel industry in the Illawarra. The Bill will now be re-introduced into the Parliament as soon as possible.
The main elements of the Bill are also incorporated in the policy platform of the NSW Labor Party as an election commitment for 2019.
After three days of debate on the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016 a vote was required today otherwise the proposed legislation would lapse under the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Orders.
Comments attributable to Ryan Park:
“The use of tricky Parliamentary tactics to avoid a vote on the Steel Industry Protection Bill by the Gareth Ward is nothing short of a disgrace and a slap in the face to the thousands of people across NSW who rely on a stronger steel industry for their employment.
“The Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward has simply betrayed the people of the Illawarra yet again.
“While the abuse of Parliamentary rules of debate in the Legislative Assembly this morning means this Bill has lapsed, it doesn’t dampen Labor’s determination to implement a plan to ensure the sustainable operation of the steel industry.”
Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:
“The attitude against the Steel Industry Protection Bill by the Government and Gareth Ward from the beginning has been extremely disappointing.
“This Bill has attracted the strong support of the unions, employers, our local community and all the minor parties in the Upper House.
“We won’t ever give up the fight to save the jobs of steel workers in the Illawarra.”
Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:
“The Liberal Party kicked steel workers in the guts today.
“We will now re-introduce this Bill again.
“I simply can’t understand why Gareth Ward and the Government don’t seem to share in the pride we have in the Illawarra for the steel we make at Port Kembla and want it used in every road, bridge, school and hospital built across the state.
“Following yet another act of inconsistency, Mr Ward has to justify why he can stand up for mandating the use of ethanol across NSW because it is produced in Bomaderry while at the same time turning his back on steel workers producing our steel at Port Kembla.”