Government fails to commit to using Australian steel in $70 billion infrastructure spend

19 Jul 2020

Posted May 10, 2017

The Prime Minister’s failure to commit to using Australian steel in its $70 billion spending spree on infrastructure announced in the Budget is a “national disgrace”, the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie says.

The NXT MP said it was bad enough that South Australia was short-changed in the infrastructure announcements without learning today that the Government wouldn’t commit to using South Australian structural steel and rail steel.

“South Australia received well below its fair share of the $70 billion national infrastructure projects spending in last night's Budget and in Question Time today Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refused to commit to using Australian steel in the those projects,” Rebekha said.

“In particular, the PM refused to commit to using South Australian steel for the rail projects announced including the $8.4 billion Melbourne to Brisbane inland railway.

"Based on our population, South Australia should have received over $5 billion in national infrastructure spending. Instead, we received $2 billion less.

“The Government's refusal to commit to using Australian steel on Australian nation building projects just beggar's belief.”

Rebekha said supporting South Australian steel would have gone some way towards addressing the project inequity facing our state.

“The Government talks about supporting Australian jobs, but if they are not talking about supporting Australian products in the building of national infrastructure then it's just all talk and no substance,” she said.

Of the $70 billion in infrastructure commitments referred to by the Federal Government over the next decade, the State was only allocated $3.1 billion – and all of it was for existing projects, including $1.6 billion for the north/south corridor.

“South Australia is being short-changed in the national infrastructure building plan,” Rebekha said.

“The result is that our State will fall drastically behind the rest of the country.”

And in the Senate similar questions asked by Senator Nick Xenophon of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann came up with a similar response.

“The fact the Government in both Houses wouldn’t guarantee using Australian steel in these massive projects is just extraordinary and simply unacceptable,” Nick said.

“We need to be using high-quality Whyalla steel on these nation-building projects.

“Not to do so would be a massive snub and insult to Australian industry and workers.”

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