Thursday, 25 February 2021
Statements by Members
The message that Labor wants to send manufacturing workers is this: we are on your side, particularly today. We're standing up for 150 workers in Portland, Victoria, who are relying on the federal government to save their jobs. They are employed at Keppel Prince, Victoria's only manufacturer of towers for wind turbines. They use Australian steel from BlueScope for the towers, and they should be the perfect candidates to build Vestas' new $360 million Ryan Corner wind farm. Stunningly, Vestas will use cheap, imported steel, potentially costing 150 jobs. More than half of the power from this farm will go to the government's Snowy Hydro scheme. The Morrison government is in a position to mandate local steel in the build, like the AWU and the AMWU are calling for, but it won't. At a time when so many Australian exports have been locked out of China, the idea that Australian jobs will be lost due to the use of cheap, imported steel is staggering. There are three people who could make a difference here: the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, and the Prime Minister. But, as always when there is a problem to be solved, the Morrison government is nowhere to be seen. If the government really backs Aussie manufacturing and Aussie steel, it will use its power to save these jobs. It's the least the government could do for those workers.