The credibility of Member for Kiama Gareth Ward is at stake on his repeated claims that the Gerringong upgrade and Berry Bypass have used Australian-made steel.
Mr Ward has been very silent on this issue as the claims of Australian steel used on the two projects have been questioned by Illawarra steel campaigners.
It appears Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) do not even know where the steel used in the Gerringong upgrade and the Berry Bypass was actually produced.
RMS has referred inquiries to the relevant contractors building the road projects.
The Government’s procurement rules and definitions are so wide that steel made overseas but “sourced” from companies within New South Wales can be described as “Australian steel”.
NSW Labor has announced as part of its Secure and Sustainable Steel Jobs package a 90 per cent requirement that Australian-made steel, certified by a NSW Steel Industry Advocate located in the Illawarra, is used on all major publicly funded infrastructure.
Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, Ryan Park MP, Member for Shellharbour, Anna Watson MP and Labor Candidate for Wollongong, Paul Scully have invited Mr Ward to a briefing on theSteel Industry Protection Bill 2016, which passed the Legislative Council last Thursday.
Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:
“Usually you wouldn’t get caught between Gareth Ward and microphone or television camera, but his silence the last couple of days as his claims of Australian-made steel use on the Gerringong upgrade and Berry Bypass have been called into question has been extraordinary.
“Mr Ward knows deep down that he cannot substantiate his publicly repeated claims about Australian-made steel use in those two projects.
“Mr Ward has been caught out telling flat-out porkies.
“The RMS has thrown him under the bus.
“The steel used in the Gerringong upgrade and the Berry Bypass were made overseas.
“It’s really time Mr Ward stopped telling the big whopper and was straight with the people of the Illawarra, who’ve made it very clear they want Australian-made steel – Illawarra-made steel – used on publicly funded infrastructure in New South Wales.”
1 September 2016