Major milestone safeguarding the future of steelmaking in Australia

Joint media release with the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP

Minister Bowen and Minister Husic today welcome the transformational announcement by GFG Alliance’s Liberty Steel into low-carbon steel making in South Australia.

After a decade of policy chaos, the passage of the Government’s Safeguard Mechanism reforms provides critical industries like steelmaking with the certainty needed for major investments in decarbonisation, helping to future-proof thousands of onshore jobs and ensuring a future made in Australia

Today’s announcement by Liberty Steel will deliver a new electric arc furnace and progress plans for a Direct Reduction Plant, which is expected to transition to green hydrogen produced from GFG’s own renewable energy projects.

GFG estimates this investment will deliver a significant reduction in direct CO2 emissions from steelmaking in Whyalla by 2025. 

The Australian steel industry generates $29 billion in annual revenue, employs almost 140,000 people across the country and will be absolutely critical to delivering the infrastructure Australia needs to become a renewable energy superpower.

The passage of the Safeguard Mechanism (Crediting) Amendment Bill last week provides further economic benefits for Australian industry to decarbonise and thrive as the world moves towards a net zero economy. 

This investment comes off the back of multiple critical manufacturing industry players welcoming the Government’s safeguard reforms: 

  • Manufacturing Australia CEO, Ben Eade - “Tailored treatment for manufacturing industries is essential if Australia is to retain globally competitive manufacturing capabilities while reducing emissions. We welcome the Federal Government’s support for manufacturing and the constructive changes that have been agreed by the crossbench.”
  • GFG Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta – “Through the steps we’re taking to install state of the art low carbon iron and steelmaking technologies here in Whyalla we will not only support Australia’s climate ambitions, but we will help to decarbonise steel supply chains globally.”
  • BlueScope CEO, Mark Vasella – “Engagement with the Government has been constructive. We can now focus on completing the feasibility study for the $1 billion No.6 Blast Furnace reline project and the ongoing decarbonisation of our steelmaking operations at the Port Kembla Steelworks.”
  • Orica CEO, Sanjeev Gandhi – “Thanks to this policy certainty, we can continue delivery of our broader decarbonisation plans across our operations and ensure Australia remains competitive as the world transitions to a lower-carbon economy.”

Through the Powering Australia plan and the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF), the Albanese Government is delivering the policy certainty and investment to support industry to decarbonise.

Minister Bowen welcomed the investment by GFG and Liberty Steel in Australia’s clean energy future. 

“The world’s climate emergency is regional Australia’s jobs opportunity, and today’s announcement is further proof of that in Whyalla,” Minister Bowen said.

“This announcement is exactly the kind of investment that industry will make following our safeguard reforms that safeguard our industry, our climate and our economy.

“For Australian industry, it means jobs up and emissions down.

“Peter Dutton and his No-alition voted against critical reforms like Safeguard Crediting, the NRF and the Energy Price Relief Plan. If the LNP had their way, Australian manufacturing would be crippled,” Minister Bowen said.

Minister Husic congratulated GFG Alliance on its announced investment in Australia’s manufacturing future.

“This is a tremendous vote of confidence in South Australia’s industrial capability and its capacity to diversify and value-add to locally made products,” Minister Husic said. 

“Steel-making and fabrication is an essential part of the Australian economy and will be critical to our plans to rebuild Australia’s domestic industrial base,” he added. 

“This planned new investment holds great potential to position Whyalla to become a world-leading, carbon-neutral steel producer.

“The $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will support green steel and green aluminium manufacturing by targeting up to $3 billion to invest in renewables and low emissions technology.

“The fund will help Australia capture the opportunities of today and tomorrow by growing and creating industries over the long-term while we remain competitive in a future low carbon economy.

“South Australian steel is a top-quality product, and today’s announcement by Liberty will help ensure it also becomes known as an environmentally sustainable product,” Minister Husic said.

Media contact: Minister Husic’s office 02 6277 7070