Illawarra Labor MPs Ryan Park and Anna Watson have today called on Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, Gareth Ward to stand up for the steel industry as he did for the ethanol industry based in his Kiama electorate.

Mr Park and Ms Watson have today written to Mr Ward inviting him to a briefing on the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016, which was yesterday passed by the Legislative Council.

Mr Ward has so far indicated he will oppose the Steel Industry Protection Bill 2016.

However, past comments on the need to mandate ethanol fuel across New South Wales have come back to haunt Mr Ward.

Extracts from Mr Ward’s Second Reading Speech on the Biofuels Amendment Bill 2016 on 16 March 2016 indicate that his support for mandating use of products is only limited to those produced in his electorate of Kiama:

I am fully aware of certain sections of the community that oppose the biofuels mandate on the basis of market interference. What those scholars conveniently ignore is the sheer level of brazen market interference engaged in by oil companies and associated cartels…”

“That is why a government mandate is required. I am not aware of any jurisdiction in the world where a strong and viable biofuels market has been successfully established and maintained without government intervention. If we want a sustainable and competitive biofuels market in New South Wales we need a strong and enforceable mandate…”

The reality is that governments regularly intervene in the market to protect consumers against unchecked market forces. That is why we have agencies such as Fair Trading, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the Energy and Water Ombudsman and the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, amongst others…”

“I make the point that support for an ethanol mandate has long been bipartisan policy…” (Emphasis added)

Mr Park and Ms Watson, in their letter to Mr Ward, noted NSW Labor had supported and voted for the Biofuels Amendment Bill 2016 and said Mr Ward should now do the same for steel workers in their electorates.

Quotes attributable to Ryan Park MP:

“Gareth Ward has a consistency problem.

“He happily supports mandating a product for use across the State if it’s manufactured in his electorate, but opposes the same requirement for steel use if it’s made in Wollongong.

“I call on Mr Ward to accept my and Anna Watson’s invitation to a briefing on the Steel Bill so he can have a better understanding of its intent, which is no different from his enthusiastic support for ethanol mandating.”

Quotes attributable to Anna Watson MP:

“Mr Ward needs to join the wide-ranging support the Steel Bill has attracted across political parties and the community in the Illawarra.

“As Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra, he has wider responsibilities than to just his Kiama electorate.

“If it’s good enough for Mr Ward to support and vote for mandating ethanol produced in his electorate, surely he can see the hypocrisy of not supporting 90% Australian-made steel use produced in Port Kembla.”


26 August 2016