Bluescope crisis meeting to be held next month

A crisis meeting will be held on September 7, including unions, Bluescope and three tiers of government, regarding the future of the steelmaker's Port Kembla site.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the federal government is considering assistance to Bluescope, though this would not involve “pushing money down the throats” of the company’s shareholders, said industry minister Ian Macfarlane.

He said the fate of the steelworks had been on the government’s mind for some time, with the company competing in “an oversupplied market”.

"But 500 jobs in a town like Wollongong is a very significant issue. I'm open to ideas," he told The AFR.

It’s being reported that other measures that might help keep the steelworks open, such as cutting NSW payroll tax, are being discussed.

Following Monday’s statement from the company – which recently returned to a full-year profit – that it needed to bring $200 million out of the costs of its Australian business, Bluescope has said that a minimum of 500 positions needed to be shed at Port Kembla.

Importing steel substrate from China, which is suffering a steel glut, would be greatly cheaper than continuing to run the No. 5 blast furnace. Shutting the site is being considered by the company, and it is believed such a decision would lead to around 5,000 altogether being lost in the region.