Address at Liberty Steel, Whyalla


ED HUSIC, MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY AND SCIENCE: I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners the Barngarla people and pay my respects to Elders past and present and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People here today. Mayor Stone, thank you very much for welcoming us here. 

Premier Malinauskas and to my good mate Tom Koutsantonis, Justin Hanson and also Eddie Hughes, or I should say, Member for Giles, and to all the GFG people here, thank you. Today, we can talk about a lot of investment plans and we can talk about equipment, we can go through a lot of stuff. 

Big thing is for you all here, jobs and something that underpins that all. And can I tell you, as a son of metal worker, this is a big deal for me personally to be here with you all today is a big deal because I saw in his eyes, in my old man's eyes, something I know exists in you all. And that is a pride that comes from what you are achieving, what you make, and also a fundamental belief that this country should be a country that makes things and that we can make things and that we can make good quality products in the process as well. 

Today is about a sign of faith, it is a show of confidence and more importantly, it's about your jobs in terms of what you're doing today, but for the ones that follow as well. Now, my old man came here to work on a nation building project in terms of Snowy Mountain Scheme and we have a lot more nation building projects we can do. And being able to get ready for the future, that takes a lot of guts, takes a lot of hard work thinking through how that will look. 

And the reason why I'm so happy to be here is that you've got in GFG, them thinking ahead. We've got all these challenges about making the things that we know will be in high demand. Steel, regardless of what people tell you, steel will be in high demand long term. When you think about what we need to do, rewiring the nation, all the renewable projects that we know are coming, all that steel that goes into so much, be it wind turbines or whatever else that we're working on, being able to have that. 

Knowing longer term too, big projects that are coming up in terms of AUKUS and the requirements for steel there, there is a lot of work and we need to make sure that all corners of the country are at the table stumping up and providing the product that we need. And you can do that. We need to have firms like GFG thinking ahead. 

And again, today's announcement is very much about that and saying no to the naysayers. There will always be people that say we can't do this. “There are other countries we got to compete against. It'll be too hard.” We can't let that type of thinking dominate. That's why, at the Federal level, and working with people like Premier Malinauskas and his government, we are determined to prove the naysayers wrong and to show that there is a bright future that we absolutely know can and absolutely will exist. 

And in the last week alone, we've seen the National Reconstruction Fund, $15 billion. It's one of the biggest investments in manufacturing capabilities in this nation in living memory, paired up with the safeguard mechanism that my friend Chris Bowen has shepherded through the Parliament. Again, a lot of people saying we couldn't get that done, but we can. And so, making sure we're investing in manufacturing, making sure that we're thinking ahead about emissions down, jobs up, it's as simple as that. Really important to make sure that that's happening and that we can do so on Australian soil in a really positive, strong way, is exceptionally important. 

So, from our point of view, having the type of leadership that's being shown here, showing the rest of the sector what can be done and importantly, backing Australian know-how, this is the big thing. 

Backing our ability to get the job done, that is what this is about today. And teaming up across other parts of the country as well, is absolutely crucial. So, as I said, we can talk about a lot of things, but when it comes down to it, it's seeing you all and seeing your faces here today, knowing what investments like this means in terms of backing you to get the job done that I know you know is important for the rest of the country. 

Hugely important. And to be able to be present here today and knowing what we're capable of doing longer term and having that backing of Australian faith and Australian know-how, that's what this is all about. Thank you very much for letting me be part of your special chapter today and we look forward to seeing bigger and brighter things in the future for Whyalla. Thank you.