BlueScope Western Port redundancies good for Port Kembla site

Redundancies at BlueScope Steel’s Western Port facilities have allowed workers at its Port Kembla operations to breathe slightly easier.

The Illawarra Mercury reports that some of the work from Western Port, southeast of Melbourne, will migrate to Port Kembla.

"There will be some positive flow-on effects for the Springhill plant here at Port Kembla, which will actually load up more in terms of the volume of throughput through its site," an unnamed BlueScope spokesman told the Mercury.

"The Springhill [Port Kembla] facility has just had close to a $30 million upgrade in preparation for the next generation of Zincalume and Colorbond products that will come out this year. So it's certainly good for that plant."

The Australian Workers Union agreed somewhat.

‘‘It’s certainly no good for the guys in Western Port but it secures some of our positions here,’’ said Wayne Phillips from the AWU.

‘‘The irony of all this is that for all these years we’ve lost work here to either overseas or interstate or other plants within the state, so it’s good to see something come back to here.’’

As reported in Manufacturers’ Monthly yesterday, BlueScope announced yesterday that 110 full-time and 60 contract positions would be shed at Victoria, which, said CEO Mark Vasella, would “reconfigure its Australian cold rolling, metal coated and painted steel production.”

The federal opposition was quick to blame the government for the job losses, with climate spokesman Greg Hunt criticising the carbon tax’s economic effects being cited.

“The Federal Government is creating the economic conditions that are seeing long term businesses shed Australian jobs,” said Hunt.

“It is clear this is the worst possible time for a Carbon Tax and other charges that make a bad situation worse.”