The Age reported that steelworkers are calling on the Victorian government to ensure that local steel is used to build its signature road project, the East West Link, amid rising fears of further job cuts from the struggling manufacturing sector.
Unions said that up to 800 jobs would be secured if the builders of the USD 8 billion first stage of the East West Link used locally produced steel, instead of importing cheaper steel from overseas.
More than 150 workers staged a protest at the Port of Melbourne, where local steel fabricators missed out on 25,000 tonnes of work earlier this year for the USD 1.6 billion expansion of Webb Dock.
Mr Terry Mulder roads minister of Victoria has moved to reassure workers that short listed bidders for the East West Link have been advised they must spend at least 80 per cent of costs locally.
A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said that “The majority of the steel will be sourced from Australia. The guidelines clearly encourage content to be sourced from Australia.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said that the Napthine government's minimum local content requirements did not prevent contractors from using imported steel and called for a stronger commitment surrounding the East West Link.
Mr Steve Dargavel State secretary said that the criteria used to determine the 80 per cent local content spend was questionable and factored in post-construction costs, such as maintenance for the life of the project. Locking out local steel fabricators from major government projects results in Victorians being sacked. 'We need real commitments and that comes down to political will.''
(Source - www.steelguru.com)