The Federal Government is considering naming and shaming mining companies that do not use Australian steel in their projects.
In her address to the annual Australian Steel Convention in Canberra yesterday Julia Gillard said while Canberra would not mandate a minimum level of local content, it would help the industry in other ways.
She said the Government would look at publishing how much Australian content was involved in projects as a way to but pressure on mining giants.
Gillard said the Government would do what it could to help manufacturing in the short-term, and the carbon tax would provide a salvation for the industry in the long-term.
“Those who stand against the clean technologies that come with a price on carbon are no friends of Australia’s manufacturing sector,” she said.
Innovation minister Kim Carr said the carbon tax would provide a boost to manufacturing as the development of clean technologies rose.
“You can’t have wind turbines without steel,” he said.
“You can’t have solar plants without steel. You can’t upgrade farms, factories and homes without steel.”
Carr said the Government needed to push ahead with a price on carbon to secure future work and technology.
“There are real opportunities on the table and if we don’t claim them other countries will.”
The Government’s comments contradict claims made by opposition leader Tony Abbott about the potential of clean energy to stimulate economic growth.
In an address to the nation earlier this year Abbott said there was “no such thing as a solar-powered steel mill”.
Carr said he recognised the anger in the steel industry over the low amount of local content used by the mining sector.
Steel unions claim the mining boom is the driving force behind the strong Australian dollar which is hurting the industry.