Industry minister Senator Kim Carr has announced the establishment of a Steel Industry Innovation Council to ensure the industry has the best possible access to billions of dollars of public and private sector projects.
According to the minister, the Steel Council will play a key part in making sure Australia has a sustainable and innovative steel industry and recognises the immense challenges to the industry posed by the global economic recession.
The Council will offer advice to Government and will build on the initiatives announced this week that give Australian business fairer access to opportunities arising from the substantial Government investments in transport, energy, communications, housing, education and research infrastructure.
The Council will:
• provide advice to Government on suitably qualified individuals for consideration as the Supplier Advocate for steel who will champion Australian industry participation in major projects and improve competitiveness and procurement support, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises;
• identify priority opportunities for the Steel Supplier Advocate to work with Enterprise Connect and the Industry Capability Network;
• identify mechanisms to improve connections between project proponents and suppliers, including ensuring that project specifications do not discriminate against Australian suppliers;
• advise on the creation of industry teams to pursue opportunities; and
• identify and advise on actions industry and unions can cooperatively take to support the activity of the Steel Supplier Advocate.
The Council membership will include senior representatives from OneSteel and BlueScope, the Australian Workers’ Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, the Australian Steel Institute, CSIRO, the higher education and research community and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.