Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has been called on to vote for the Steel Industry Protection Bill if he wants his public statements of support for the steel industry and workers in the Illawarra taken seriously.

Mr Ward yesterday indicated that he disagreed with a speech by his Liberal Parliamentary colleague, Dr Peter Phelps delivered in the Legislative Council last Thursday during debate on the Steel Industry Protection Bill.

The Steel Industry Protection Bill contains a requirement for 90 per cent Australian-made steel content in all NSW publicly funded infrastructure and the appointment of a NSW Steel Industry Advocate to be located in the Illawarra region.

These provisions reflect NSW Labor’s Secure and Sustainable Steel Jobs package announced in Wollongong in June and which have attracted the widespread support of the combined steel unions, business groups, the Steel Institute and all of the Legislative Council’s minor political parties.

The NSW Liberals have tried to filibuster debate on Steel Industry Protection Bill since it was introduced in an attempt to delay a vote on the proposed legislation in the Legislative Council for as long as possible.

The Bill is expected to resume debate and a call for a vote on it when State Parliament sits again in early August 2016.

The Bill is expected to pass the Legislative Council and then be debated in the Legislative Assembly.


Comments attributable to Anna Watson MP:

“I’m pleased to see Gareth Ward disagree with the views of his Liberal Party colleague, Dr Peter Phelps.

“But steel workers in the Illawarra expect more than just hollow words from Mr Ward.

“They expect he will not only stand up for the steel industry and their jobs, but more importantly vote to support the passage of the Steel Industry Protection Bill through the State Parliament.

“Steel workers and their families expect Mr Ward, as the Government’s senior political representative in the Illawarra, put his hand up in support of this Bill and make it the law of the State.

“Mr Ward has a long habit of saying one thing in the Illawarra and doing another thing in Macquarie Street.

“I call on Mr Ward not only to stand up for steel, but more importantly, vote for steel and help pass the Steel Industry Protection Bill.”


30 June 2016