BlueScope seeks funding under government steel plan

Steel making giant BlueScope Steel has applied for $100 million federal government funding under the Steel Transformation Plan (STP), which was made available to industry last Friday.

Under STP, eligible companies will be able to apply for $164 million in competitiveness assistance advances. The plan is created to assist the Australian steel industry through the introduction of a carbon pricing scheme.

BlueScope chief executive Paul O’Malley said the assisted funding, in addition to its capital raising, asset sales and the restructure of its Australian operations, would help return the company to profitability and growth, according to an AAP report.

The STP comes into effect following Royal Assent to the Clean Energy Bills and the Steel Transformation Plan Bill.

“The Government has worked closely with the steel industry in developing the $300 million Steel Transformation Plan, and this Plan has been welcomed by the industry. It will help the sector’s transformation to a low-carbon future,” said Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Greg Combet.

The Government has brought forward up to $164 million in competitiveness assistance advances to allow eligible companies to draw down advances of their future STP entitlements.

Last Friday, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr opened the 15th CRC facility in Melbourne stating that the new advance facility is an essential part of the STP.

Prime Minister Gillard said that the newly launched facility will allow BlueScope Steel to bring forward into 2011-12 up to $100 million of the payments allocated to it under the STP.

“The Government will continue to work co-operatively with relevant stakeholders to finalise the legislative design of the self-assessment element of the STP,” Senator Carr said.

“This initiative will help the Australian steel manufacturing industry position itself for a competitive future.  The Government views a competitive steel industry as an important part of the Australian economy.”