Canberra backs steelworks, hints at further MMI investment

BlueScope Steel will invest $217 updating the Port Kembla steelworks with the assistance of a federal government Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant.

Canberra will provide $55.4 million to the project which will ‘shore up the supply of Australian steel to support renewable energy projects and our local defence sector’, according to the government.

Steel plate produced at Port Kembla is used by Bisalloy to make armour steel used in Australian made submarines, ships and armoured vehicles.

Canberra has also hinted that the MII might be extended and increase in the upcoming budget.

Minister for industry Angus Taylor said the enhanced capability was a win-win, not only increasing the local production of steel, but also helping build up the renewable energy and defence sectors.

Taylor said: “The Port Kembla steelworks has a proud history. This precinct will help BlueScope thrive into the future and create more jobs in the region.”

Taylor’s statement said manufacturing would be a focus of the government’s 22-23 Budget and ‘will continue its investments under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative to back Australian manufacturers to become more competitive, resilient and able to scale’.

BlueScope plans a $217 million investment in its Advanced Steel Manufacturing Precinct, now aided by the Collaboration Stream of the MMI.

The investment includes a new facility that will be able to produce plate steel for defence, as well as the type of steel used to create wind turbine towers and large-scale solar installations, according to the government.

“This will reduce the need for overseas imports and foster deeper collaboration with steel manufacturers by building on the existing relationship with the Steel Research Hub at the University of Wollongong.

“More than 200 people will be employed directly in steel manufacturing once the precinct is up and running, with about 1000 more workers in adjacent industries.”

Picture: BlueScope

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