The Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) has welcomed the good news from BlueScope about its half yearly profits, while advising more needs to be done to secure the long term future of the steel industry.
“We are pleased that BlueScope has made a profit this half year,” IBC Chief Executive Officer Debra Murphy said.
“BlueScope has achieved these profits partly on the back of wide-ranging cost savings and earnings across multiple parts of their business.
“A combination of a lower Australian dollar, cheaper prices for raw materials, and an increase in domestic demand has also helped deliver a very positive result.
“This is good news for BlueScope workers, and for business.
“BlueScope is a major job creator here in the Illawarra, and those jobs bring dollars that help our local businesses survive and thrive.
“But BlueScope’s encouraging half yearly results do not mean the future of our steel industry is secure in the long term.
“BlueScope will need to continue to clip costs, having indicated $270 million in cost savings must be achieved in the next financial year.
“The steel industry remains under significant pressure, both here in the Illawarra and in South Australia at Whyalla.
“That’s why we’re asking the Federal Government to take action to create a level playing field for our domestic suppliers.
“Our submission to the Senate Inquiry into the steel industry recommends three strategies to secure the future of steel.
“First and foremost, Government suppliers should meet Australian Standards for steel, so that they are competing on the same terms with foreign producers.
“The Federal Government should also improve chances for our Australian producers by informing them ahead of time about public projects, and reporting on the employment, local sourcing and skills outcomes of those projects when they’re finished.
“State Governments should be encouraged to use Industry Participation Agreements so that the quality steel made by Australian producers is used for our roads, railways and hospitals.
“We’ve also asked the Federal Government to take steps to bolster entrepreneurship and innovation, so that our economy can continue to diversify.
“By taking these steps, we’ll continue to see positive reports about the performance of companies like BlueScope, as well as the growth of new businesses that will supply the jobs of the future,” Ms Murphy concluded.