Union representatives for the steel industry are criticising the decision to use cheap Chinese aluminium for the new headquarters for the federal Climate Change Department.
Fairfax news outlets report that “unions have gone on the warpath” after learning that the new headquarters will use cheap Chinese aluminium, claiming it is dirtier to produce than the Australian product.
The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, reportedly raised the issue with Julia Gillard yesterday during a meeting between unions, industry, the Prime Minister and senior ministers to discuss ways of helping the struggling manufacturing sector.
The department has signed a lease for the Nishi development under construction in Canberra.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has not ruled out a green ban on the site if Australian aluminium was not used.
The unions say the cheap aluminium importing constitutes dumping, with Australian suppliers being pushed out of the market, and is considering how best to draw the issue to public attention.