Joint media release: $200 million to help future-proof regional steel manufacturing
Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science
Stephen Jones MP, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Financial Service
Alison Byrnes MP, Member for Cunningham
The Albanese Government is helping to secure the future of Australian steelmaking with $200 million in grant funding to deliver the energy transformation and help keep our producers competitive on a global scale.
The first round of the Powering the Regions Fund (PRF) will provide funding to BlueScope Steel Limited and Liberty Steel Australia to progress projects at their respective operations in New South Wales and South Australia.
BlueScope has been awarded $136.8 million towards the reline and upgrade of its No. 6 Blast Furnace at the Port Kembla Steelworks. This project will maintain domestic production, reduce emissions, and support pathways to producing even lower-emissions steel in the future.
LIBERTY has also been awarded $63.2 million towards the purchase and commission of a low carbon electric arc furnace (EAF) to replace the existing traditional blast furnace at the Whyalla Steelworks. The new state of the art EAF will support the manufacturing of green steel and help achieve LIBERTY’s aim of carbon neutrality by 2030.
The BlueScope project will employ approximately 250 additional workers on site during the upgrade and reline of the blast furnace and will help secure the local workforce over the long term, including the thousands of jobs at the Port Kembla Steelworks. LIBERTY’s shift to green iron and steel will increase its workforce by around 24% over 5 years and help provide retraining and opportunities to learn new skills for a substantial number of existing employees.
These grants are the first to be delivered under the PRF through its Critical Inputs to Clean Energy Industries program, which supports hard-to-abate sectors like steel so Australia can keep making the things that are vital to the energy transition, including electricity and rail infrastructure, like wind towers, solar farms and energy transmission, and the construction of energy efficient buildings.
The Albanese Government has also committed $200 million in grant funding for the hard-to-abate cement and lime and alumina and aluminium sectors, with successful projects to be announced in the coming months.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen:
“This $200 million investment in the steel sector is about securing the long-term future of the steel industry in Australia. As we undergo the transformation to Net Zero it is vital that we support our industries to adopt and manufacture cleaner technologies.”
“Steel is essential for our energy transformation. 90% of the materials that go into making a wind turbine are steel and cement, and we're going to need a lot more of it.”
“Total steel demand for the energy transformation from 2022 to 2050 will be almost 5 billion tonnes, accounting for 75% of the total material requirement – and that steel will increasingly be green steel.”
“We want to make sure products vital to our economic future like green steel are made in Australia, but this will require innovation and new ways of processing iron ore that decarbonise our steel industry.”
“Regions like the Illawarra and Whyalla have been industrial powerhouses for generations, making the steel used in building our houses, infrastructure and industry, while creating jobs, and we want to see this continue.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic:
“Clean, green Aussie made steel is the way of the future. Our economy needs it and it will sustain and create great jobs in our regions.”
Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer and Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones:
“Alison and I have worked hard to secure good policy and funding so that the Illawarra is a steel making region for a long, long time.”
“Our government wants Australia to be a manufacturing powerhouse. This investment boosts the Port Kembla Steelworks and local jobs, while ensuring steel making remains internationally competitive and sustainable.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes:
"I am delighted by this announcement, which clearly demonstrates support for the future of steelmaking in Port Kembla by the Albanese Labor Government.”
"This turbo charges the investment to reline the blast furnace by BlueScope, securing thousands of jobs in the region.”
"It signifies the Government’s on-going commitment to the importance of steelmaking in the Illawarra, our region and the nation.”
"Steel is vital to achieving our renewable energy transition and for the construction of new housing and the Illawarra is a crucial player in these national objectives."