9 Apr 2016

The UK and Australia have the same problem."Steel and we can't afford to loose it!
The UK Government's normal response to industrial closures has been to let market forces work their magic. Who needs metal bashing anyway? Britain(read Australia) isn't in the business of making stuff any more – we do clever things instead like finance. Wow that ended well?

In 2008/9 the UK Government organised a £1 trillion bailout of the insolvent banking industry. The alternative was just too awful to contemplate: the collapse of the financial system.

Somehow the collapse of the industrial system has not been so hard to contemplate. Indeed, there was some oblique criticism of the US government in 2008/9 for bailing out the US motor industry. The message appeared to be that you can only bail out and nationalise banks.

The Government appears to have realised that giving up on metal bashing is not such a good idea after all; nor is selling off strategic industries like steel and energy to foreign buyers.

The UK steel industry formerly employed 250,000 workers but that isn't the only reason it was important. By losing control of key sectors of industrial production you become the plaything of international markets.

The Australian government is still of the belief that market forces is the cure all for any problem that occurs in our industries such as oil refineries that of all but disappeared from our landscape and the car industry that was allowed to die with no thought given to its replacement.

Now it's steels turn, can we afford to be at the mercy of international markets that close industries down overnight because of oversupply.

Oversupply makes overseas imports cheaper in the short term but what happens afterwards, well we get ripped of by higher prices because we no longer have an industry to fire up and compete.

Ideology should be put aside, we must ensure that Australia maintains this essential industry.

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